IndyCar’s return to Loudon, New Hampshire was far more memorable for crashes and bad officiating than it was for the actual race itself. By the time a passing shower caused officials to throw a yellow flag in the closing laps, it looked certain that the race would end under yellow. That may be the safe way to do things, but it isn’t the exciting way to end a race, so IndyCar decided to throw a green flag despite a wet track and steady rain.
Chaos endued, since IndyCars are all but undriveable on slick tires and wet pavement which is why the series doesn’t run oval races in the rain. The lead cars had just approached the flagstand when Danica Patrick, running mid-pack, got sideways. The ensuing accident took out most of the field, including Penske driver Will Power, who’s running second overall in championship points.
Power, who had advised his team of track conditions, was furious after the crash, flipping the now-famous double-bird seen in the video below. IndyCar officials have fined Power $30,000, or $15k per single digit salute, for his family-unfriendly actions. Power can either pay the cash, or volunteer his time making appearances on behalf of IndyCar. He can, of course, appeal, but that’s not likely to net him any lower fines.
While Power’s actions may have been a little over the top, given the same set of circumstances I can’t say I’d be any more controlled. The irony here is that series chief steward Brian Barnhart is worried about maintaining a “family friendly” atmosphere, but isn’t concerned risking drivers’ lives for an exciting finish. No wonder that the series has trouble attracting and maintaining a fan base.