Remember Robby Gordon's "win" in the 2007 Nationwide race at Montreal? Gordon spun Marcos Ambrose late in the race and was penalized, but didn't serve his penalty and crossed the finish line first. NASCAR disqualified Gordon for not serving his penalty and gave the win to Kevin Harvick.
Well, there must be something in the Canadian water.
Helio Castroneves was leading the Honda Indy Edmonton after a restart, and after the first corner of lap 93 of the 95-lap race, Castroneves exited the corner on the low side of the straightaway while battling teammate Will Power.
In the IndyCar Series, blocking is illegal and subject to a penalty. But blocking isn't like an adult film. You don't always know when you see it. To those watching, it looked like Castroneves did nothing wrong, but IndyCar COO Brian Barnhart ruled that Castroneves was blocking and ordered him to serve a drive-through penalty.
Scott Dixon got around Power for second behind Castroneves after the blocking allegedly occurred, and was declared the winner despite crossing the finish line second to Castroneves because Castroneves never served his penalty.
The black flag call was radioed to Castroneves' car, but he failed to complete the drive-thru pit lane penalty. Following the race, Castroneves was penalized 20 seconds and placed at the end of the lead lap (10th). A black flag cannot be appealed, according to Indy Racing League rules.
"I never moved my line,” said Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Dallara/Honda. “I actually did move him outside. When you go side by side like that with your teammate and they just take it away from you, it’s just absurd.”
However, other drivers said that Castroneves did block. Predictably, Ganassi drivers Dario Franchitti — who finished third — and Dixon felt that Castroneves was blocking. However, Power, Castroneves' teammate, said that he too, felt Castroneves was blocking. (The win also gave Chip Ganassi his second major win of the day after Jamie McMurray's win in the Brickyard 400)
“I got a run on him and he blocked me,” said Power. [...] “I would say a black flag is a pretty harsh penalty, but it is what it is. It was just one of those racing things. When you’re leading on the last restart you want to keep the lead."
Castroneves, of course, wasn't happy afterwards. As soon as he got out of his car, he stormed over to IndyCar official Kevin Blanche to plead, err, scream his case. Those screams and gestures and collar-grabbing of one official were unsuccessful, as shortly after the race, the IndyCar Series announced that the penalty would stand and Castroneves would finish the race in 10th place.
- Helio Castroneves