'There's a lady attacking me!': IndyCar drivers react to female mannequin falling on track during race

As they whizzed past what appeared to be a lifeless body lying inches off the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park, IndyCar drivers remained calm.

It was just "Georgina" after all — the female mannequin that hangs from a pedestrian bridge over a long straightaway on the 2.3-mile road course near Birmingham, Alabama.

But Scott McLaughlin might have had different emotions if her unexpected plummet onto the track's pristine grass somehow had interfered with the Team Penske driver's victory Sunday.

2024 INDYCAR Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix
2024 INDYCAR Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix

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"I was a little mad," McLaughlin said with a laugh in response to a question from NBC Sports about how it felt to drive by the dummy. "Then I realized that someone else had hit the fence. That wasn't what the yellow was for. I love the artistic stuff, but it probably doesn't need to be above the track to cause a yellow like that. It's probably what will change next year maybe."

There was no yellow when Georgina came loose from her moorings and stuck the landing before toppling over just as Santino Ferrucci's No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet went by on track at full speed. But she was removed during a caution flag flew three laps later for a Sting Ray Robb crash.

Runner-up Will Power initially thought the yellow had been for Georgina.

"Yellow comes out and there's a lady lying on the side,' he said. "You're kidding me. There's a yellow for that lady? That would have been funny if it came in someone's cockpit. 'There's a lady attacking me!' "

Because Georgina is among the many goofy props placed around the track by management, McLaughlin and Power immediately recognized Georgina (and not an actual human being in distress).

"I knew exactly what it was," Power said. "They're going to have to seriously get some good cables (in the future). Did someone run over it?"

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No, but it appeared Ferrucci nipped one of her hands.

"Should go in a glass case," Power cracked. "Preserve the body. Mummify it!'

A slightly less jovial McLaughlin said he "thought it was a matter of time" before Georgina eventually detached from the bridge.

While he loves Barber Motorsports Park ("Probably my favorite road course in America") and appreciated track owner George Barber's zany sense of humor ("it's just a fun track"), the Team Penske driver added that "Yeah, if I lost to that, to a lady that fell off ... I won't say anymore.

"It was a mannequin. It wasn't a real person."

George Barber.webp
George Barber.webp

Per a 2022 story by NBC Sports contributor Bruce Martin, track owner George Barber commissioned the artwork of wild animals, an iconic overspided spider (nicknamed "Charlotte's Web"), Martians, "a zombie Frenchman", a mini-Bigfoot and "Henry the Monkey" (which hangs from a billboard atop the scoring pylon).

They are known as "George's Critters," and Barber was inspired to use them because he felt his track unfairly was criticized by environmentalists when it opened.
"They would call us in the middle of the night and raise hell," Barber told Martin two years ago. "It was unbelievable what they were doing to my people and me.

“So, I got the critters and the spiders and the various things around and I called in the press. I said, ‘Look at this, my God, the spiders and the critters and the animals, they drank this water around here and looked what happened to them. This is terrible.’ Boy, they played it up big time and they really did us justice. The environmentalists saw this, and they backed off. We got our mojo back; we got our spirit back and we completed the project."