There were many heatly debated topics coming out of the 2013 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. A selection of the best quotes of the day is offered below.
Dario Franchitti and Roger Penske on whether Team Penske’s conduct was unsportsmanlike:
Franchitti: “If people start doing that kind of stuff in pit lane, it gets very dangerous. We’ve always had a rule, no matter what team we’ve been racing with or against in a championship: any guy in pit lane, there’s always that professional courtesy. That clearly wasn’t the case today. That’s disappointing.”
Penske: “I think you should look at the tape. Our man who changed the tire picked the tire up, was running behind the car. It wasn’t that he stuck the tire out. He didn’t leave the tire on the ground where it could have been in the way. I think they’re way overplaying this thing as far as I’m concerned. Someone got hit, went up in the air. Obviously the 9 car was too close to our crew, had an accident there. The outcome is obvious. These are things that are pretty clear in the rule book. You go to 701.16 in the rule book, if a team member gets hit in the pits, there’s a drive-through.
“I’d love to have Dario here. As far as I’m concerned, he’s off base. Our guys were doing a job, changing the tires, picked the tires up, got hit by a car from behind. You start to get personalities into this, what we’re doing running for a championship, it’s ridiculous.”
Beaux Barfield on what he factored into the decision to penalize Dixon:
“Ultimately, we have a duty to protect everybody in the pit lane. If we have somebody who uses less than great judgment when they leave their pit box and we have an incident, then we have to make a statement by penalizing and we’re going to make that call. There are a couple of different (video) angles, and clearly the 9 car crosses right into the 12 car’s space and that’s where the violation occurred. He was in the 12 car’s box for a good half-car length.
“If I’m going to be sensitive to the fact that a guy’s running for a championship or a guy is leading the race, those are really unfair considerations. The reality is if I consider not penalizing that guy because he’s in the run for the championship, I think if he wins the championship that casts a shadow on the championship because you equally disadvantage the other guy. I refused to look at those items when I reviewed this. I looked at it strictly from a standpoint of what kind of statement do we need to make to keep this pit lane safe, and today there were a couple of items that we responded to that I think were absolutely in line with what we want to achieve in terms of pit lane safety.”
On the restart where Dario Franchitti felt Will Power was too aggressive:
Franchitti: “We had that one restart where I went up to turn two there, got upside of Will, that’s when he drove me off the track. That’s when Scott had his drive-through, as well. It wasn’t a high point for the officials, I would say, in that section of the race.” (When asked about repairing relations with Power:)“What the hell is it up to me to repair it for? I was the victim in that one. I’m pretty pissed off right now. Yeah, Will was pushing hard. It wasn’t some crazy, really mad thing. But, you know, I was driven off the track and nothing was done about it. So I’m more mad at race control for not doing anything as usual than I am at Will, really.”
Power: “I mean, we barely touched. That’s just racing. I’m surprised at his displeasure. Dixon did exactly the same thing to me when roles were reversed on the first restart. Dario seems to have a short memory because in Detroit at the first corner he hit me a lot harder and I lost a bunch of positions. It’s just racing. He’ll cool down. Double-file restarts, what do you do? We’re side-by-side. Cars are going to touch. It’s not like I KO’d him into the wall.”
Franchitti on a lack of clarity from race control:
“As drivers, right now we don’t know what the rules are. We don’t know what is acceptable, what isn’t. You see penalties, you see non-penalties for the same thing. As close as it is, we need to have a clear definition of what is and isn’t acceptable. We need to have a clear definition and it needs to be consistently policed.”
Power on finally getting a win and what he’s learned from a tough year:
“I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve been in the back of the pack. I’ve learned a lot about restarts. When you have a tough year, you really start searching, looking. You pick up things. Really feels like next year I’ll come back more a complete driver.”