James Davison has revealed that a faulty pit lane speed limiter was responsible for his pit lane clash with three-time event winner Helio Castroneves in this year’s 103rd Indianapolis 500.
Davison moved from 15th to ninth in the first 36 laps of the race before making his first pit stop.
But the Melbourne man said the pit speed limiter in his Dale Coyne Racing-prepared #33 Belardi Auto entry malfunctioned, leading him to lose track of his box.
He turned in late, and was struck from behind by Castroneves, who had already completed his pit stop.
The slight impact spun out Davison’s Honda and left him two laps down.
He embarked on a furious comeback drive that lifted him to an Indy career-best 12th place at the flag.
“The four powerhouse teams here make up 15 cars,” noted Davison.
“From my third car Coyne crew, with the help of the #18 and #19 crews (full-time DCR entries) building us a fantastic car for the Byrd-Belardi partnership, it was an awesome effort.
“We had a pretty solid first stint there, running in the top 10, which was surreal.
“I came to pit road and the pit speed limiter wasn’t working.
“This race throws you everything, and that’s just the way it goes.
“We recovered from two laps down in 32nd place to finish 12th, so I think that was a pretty solid recovery.
“I don’t really know what to say more than that, but it set off a chain reaction of events and I’m very sorry to Team Penske and Helio for affecting their race.”
Davison in fact apologised to Roger Penske himself, but the veteran team owner was in a forgiving mood having just seen Simon Pagenaud deliver his squad’s 18th Indianapolis 500 win.
“I just did my best with that situation and apologised to ‘The Captain’ immediately after the race.
“He said, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter, we won anyway!’
“As ever, it’s a true pleasure to race in the ‘Greatest Spectacle In Racing’ and just to be here.
“Just to make it into a car is an achievement in itself.”
Castroneves was philosophical after losing out on another chance to secure a record-tying fourth Indianapolis victory.
The 43-year-old no longer competes full-time in the IndyCar Series, but maintains a top-level drive with Team Penske in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
“It was a disappointing finish, for sure,” remarked the Brazilian.
“Coming down the pit lane, I had the #33 car in front of me and he was going about 40 miles per hour (64.4km/h).
“The pit speed limit is 60 (96.6km/h), so I kind of didn’t know what to do.
“I cannot pass on the left lane, so I was waiting, waiting.
“Suddenly I saw his team waving, and I kind of like tucked behind him.
“I actually noticed that he missed his pit, so all of a sudden, he just slammed on the brakes and it went downhill from there.”
Castroneves was assessed a drive-through penalty and he never recovered, finishing a lap down in 18th place.
VIDEO: James Davison spun in pit lane