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Indy Racing League Series: Indianapolis 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

Indy Racing League Series: Indianapolis 500

Brian Barnhart
May 26, 2002


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

BRIAN BARNHART: I just wanted to come in and spend some time with you guys and let you know that we have posted the official results for the Indianapolis running, the 86th running of which took place this afternoon, and they are unchanged from the unofficial results at the time the decision was made at that point in time, with the No. 3 car of Helio Castroneves being the winner of the race, Paul Tracy running second and Felipe Giaffone running third.

Q. Can you speak to, apparently there was some conflicting or some very difficult to determine video. Can you talk about the video you looked at and how close it was, could you make a case for both drivers?

BRIAN BARNHART: Well, we actually did an exhaustive search of all data and information that we had available to us, video and otherwise, everything we could come up with to find out exactly when and what took place as best we could. At conclusion of lap 198 and the beginning of lap 199, the three cars clearly in front of the 26 car at the finish line stayed that way through the south end of the racetrack. And clearly, based on the video that we have seen, the 3 car is in front of the 26 car when the accident occurs in turn 2. It is clearly in front of the 26 car when the yellow was called for. It is clearly in front of the 26 car when it reaches the last time line at the end of the backstretch going into turn 3. Clearly based on all the information that we have available to us, the 3 car was in front of the 26 at the conclusion of the race.

Q. The significant amount of time you said was clear, was it a significant difference in time?

BRIAN BARNHART: No. It's very close. The cars are running nose to tail down the back stretch as they come through there, and in looking at the video as the 26 car passes the 3 car on the outside of turn 3, it's just too hard to tell and too inconclusive from the video as to what the condition of the track lights are and which car is nosed ahead of the other at which point in time. There's just no evidence worthy of overturning our original decision.

Q. Do you mean to say that that particular moment in turn 3, is it just simply not clear and that's why you're not overturning it, or is it leaning toward the 3 car being in front at the point the caution light -- the question between the two drivers, was at what instant the caution came on. Tracy said obviously he had gotten by. Castroneves said that he backed off a little bit and that's when Paul got by. Paul said after turn 3, Castroneves said apex of turn 3.

BRIAN BARNHART: And it is that close of a call at the turn. And going back to all of the other information available -- and again, take into consideration, there's a lot more information that we provide to our teams, not just the track lights on the racetrack. We have mandated rules that the spotters and the race teams themselves have to listen to race control and they are hearing the call made for the yellow. We have an on-board yellow light system, the dash system on the cars themselves that would be turning yellow, virtually simultaneously at the same time as the track lights. You've got the track caution lights as well, and you have spotters on the racetrack. Based on all of that information, it certainly supports our decision we originally made.

Q. Is there a lag between the amount of time that the in cars have when it goes yellow to the actual track lights themselves?

BRIAN BARNHART: No. They are virtually simultaneous. Mel Harter (ph) is the one who throws the on-board yellow lights, and at the same time the race control frequency is calling the yellow, yellow, yellow call.

Q. How quickly are the drivers supposed to respond, and is it clear exactly when the yellow lights did come on?

BRIAN BARNHART: Well, number two, first. No, it's not clear based on the video. It's very inconclusive when the yellow lights came on. But again, keeping in mind the other avenues of communications that we require our teams to pay attention to, and what is expected of the drivers, we stressed to them immediately when there is a call of a yellow, we ask for them to slow down immediately.

Q. Do you expect Team Green to file a protest, if they have not already?

BRIAN BARNHART: We have posted the official results. It is certainly within their right to do so. I don't know whether they will or not.

Q. But it looked like Tracy is just ahead when the light comes on yellow; is that the light to determine the call, the light in 3, basically?

BRIAN BARNHART: Again, that's I think what we are talking about. That same video we are looking at appears to be very inconclusive to us, but when you take into consideration as well the race control frequency and the dash lights. And putting all that together, we didn't find anything that would make us change our decision from the original unofficial posting.

Q. So just to be clear, do you have some evidence, some indication that's conclusive, like could you get the sector timing and do the calculation, or do you have something that's empirical that says that he was definitely --

BRIAN BARNHART: Clearly at the last time line at the end of the back stretch and the entrance of turn 3, car 3 is clearly ahead of car 26, and that is well after the impact had taken place in turn 2. It's well after the call for the yellow has taken place; meaning that that is out on the race control frequency that we are going yellow because of the accident in turn 2. And all of that is taking place long before the 26 car has gone on the outside of the 3.

Q. Is that is conclusive?

BRIAN BARNHART: Yes.

Q. And if there were to be a protest, what's the time line? When would it be heard? How long would we have to wait?

BRIAN BARNHART: They actually have an hour to file the protest from the official posting, and I think I posted it at 7:40. We would set a time to have a hearing should they choose to protest the official results.

Q. Where?

BRIAN BARNHART: They would have to protest to us in our office this evening and we would set a time for a hearing sometime in the near future.

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