Dixon: IndyCar Race Control needs to ‘work out’ Caution policy
Monday 4th July, 2022 - 8:15am
Scott Dixon says that IndyCar Race Control “needs to work out where they want to be” after apparently changing its approach to deployment of Caution periods at Mid-Ohio.
Of the five Caution periods in the 80-lap race (six if the wave-off of the start is counted), two had the potential to change the complexion of the contest dramatically.
While Andretti Autosport tripped up in leaving Colton Herta stranded for the latter of those, everyone had been allowed to get around to pit lane before the full-course yellow was finally triggered.
Eventual race winner Scott McLaughlin was one of the drivers who benefited on both of those occasions, having not taken his first pit stop when Kyle Kirkwood hit the barriers on Lap 29, nor his second when Tatiana Calderon stopped on Lap 52 with a gearbox drama.
Dixon was in the same situation for the Caution which eventually came on Lap 54, but he and then-leader Pato O’Ward were already into the pits just before Kirkwood struck trouble.
Ordinarily, the five drivers still circulating without having made a stop at that point would have been cruelled by the Caution period causing pit lane to be closed, but Race Control seemed to wait for them.
Dixon, who would go on to finish fifth, was not happy about the surprise change of policy.
He believes he could have profited had the Caution been thrown immediately when Car #14 ended up in the wall.
“I think the PNC Bank #9 had good pace; it was just a frustrating day,” said the Chip Ganassi Racing driver on the NBC Sports telecast which is taken by Stan Sport.
“The Race Control kind of… yellow happens, but now they’re waiting. Like, that’s something new which, for us, put us in a tricky situation.
“Had the Caution gone when it should have, we would have come out in the front because we pitted at the perfect time.
“Today, I would say we looked like an IMSA race,” he added.
“I think Race Control needs to work out where they want to be.
“And I’m fine with that, as long as it’s consistent; I think that’s all that anybody asks.”
According to Dixon, the timing of the first Caution and a little bit of bad luck meant he was on the wrong strategy for much of the 80-lapper.
“After that Caution, we were on blacks, everybody around us was on reds, and then later in the race we were on used reds and everybody was on new reds,” he explained.
“So, it was tough to hold position, to try and maintain what we had, because we were kind of mismatched there a little bit.
“Kudos to the team, did a tremendous job, but just it favoured if you kind of pitted short today and unfortunately we weren’t doing that.”
Dixon is now sixth on the points table, 67 points behind series-leading team-mate Marcus Ericsson, ahead of the Toronto event which takes place a fortnight from now (July 15-17, local time).
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