June 21, 2010
We mentioned this possibility a while ago, and on Sunday at Iowa, Milka Duno was so much of a moving chicane that the IndyCar Series had no choice but to remove her from the race.
Duno crashed in qualifying, didn't post a speed and started dead last, in 25th. The 25 cars were the most cars ever entered in an IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway, a 7/8th-mile track designed by Rusty Wallace and located just north of Des Moines.
Pole winner Will Power's qualifying speed was just north of 181 mph, so that meant that the field was running roughly 17 second laps, and IndyCar president of racing and competition Brian Barnhart told the field that any driver more than a second off the pace could be parked.
Duno was quickly lapped after the first caution of the day happened on lap 1, but at that point was within that barrier. However, Duno was lapped just nine laps later, meaning that in that span she was more than two seconds off the speeds that the leader was running, something incredibly dangerous for a track that size.
And to compound problems, the first time she was lapped, Duno almost wrecked the leaders. Marco Andretti was chasing down Power for the lead as they approached Duno. Duno was in the higher line, and chopped off Andretti, forcing him to slow and fall all the way back to fourth. However, as Power tried to sneak underneath, she and he touched wheels, and somehow, both drivers saved it. The second time she was lapped, Dario Franchitti had to take evasive action coming off of turn two because of how slowly Duno was running.
Kudos to the IndyCar Series for taking action about something that could have had devastating consequences, not only for Duno, but the leaders of the race. No one ever wants to see lapped cars influencing the outcome of a race, and had Duno been allowed to continue, that possibility would have kept getting larger and larger.
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