To Suspend or Not?

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Update: Before I get into today’s topic, I promised on Wednesday that I would give an update on my wife Susan. She is still hospitalized. Her fever has gone down, but has not subsided. Scans showed that the abscessed liver is looking fine, but the scans also showed traces of pneumonia in her lungs. They did an entire respiratory panel for everything under the sun, including COVID, and everything was negative – so the doctors are sort of scratching their collective heads. As of Thursday night, it does not appear that she will be coming home for the weekend (update: she did). – GP

You have heard my discontent with some of the posts in the various IndyCar-related Facebook groups. There seems to be a lot of whining combined with some rather outlandish ideas. Sunday night, while we were still in Wisconsin – I saw a post on one of them (and I cannot remember which one it was) that I thought was ridiculous. It concerned an incident after Sunday’s race. Oddly enough, I found myself in the minority – so I wanted to pose the issue here to see what you thought.

Keep in mind, when I first saw the Facebook post – I had not seen any replays at all from the race. It wasn’t until Wednesday night that I saw the replay in question. After I saw it, I was convinced that the post in question was even more absurd.

I’m talking about the retaliation on the cool-down lap from Will Power toward Devlin DeFrancesco. If you recall, DeFrancesco got into the back of Will Power on Lap Eight, in Turn Five – spinning the points leader around 180° and damaging his front wing. Power had not qualified well, but that’s not unusual. He started at Belle Isle in sixteenth and won the race, so who’s to say the same thing wouldn’t happen a week later at Road America? I’m not sure Power had anything for Josef Newgarden, Marcus Ericsson or Alexander Rossi, but I think he could have had himself a decent day. Instead, another rookie mistake by DeFrancesco put Power at the back of the field and he ended up with a nineteenth-place finish – one spot behind DeFrancesco.

Power vented his frustrations on the cool-down with a basic hip-check, just getting his point across to the rookie that his actions weren’t acceptable.

The aforementioned Facebook post (I’m paraphrasing, because now I can’t find it to quote) said that while Power had every right to be angry, it was completely unacceptable for him to retaliate on the track and that he should be suspended for the next race, at least. Seriously?

Keep in mind, I’m not necessarily condoning Power’s actions – but I found it more comical, than offensive, egregious or dangerous.

But even if I’m an IndyCar official, the possibility of suspending Power is not even entering my mind. It makes no difference if he was the points leader going into the race, or he was sitting twenty-third in points (where Devlin DeFrancesco happens to be sitting. This was not a suspendable offense in my mind. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a small monetary fine or if Power just got a slap on the wrist. But suspension? Please.

What surprised me was how many people agreed with whoever put this post up. I’ll bet the responses in favor of suspending Power for a race, were more than the majority. Am I missing something here? Is there something wrong with me, that I chuckled when I saw Power retaliate rather than getting outraged? Or is the person who posted this one of those who gets outraged over everything and he had his buddies chime in to support him.

Please let me hear from you. I’d really like to know if I am not looking at things the right way, or if this person is in the vast minority.

George Phillips

Please Note: I had already planned on taking a break for this Monday, since it is Father’s Day weekend. However, given all that I have going on with Susan, plus the fact I have been on the road for four out of the past five weekends traveling to races – there is a lot that needs doing around the house, and I’m sort of worn out. Therefore, with no IndyCar racing for the next three weekends, I am going to take all of next week off. I will return here on Monday June 27. Hopefully I will have some good news to report on Susan then, as well. – GP

13 Responses to “To Suspend or Not?”

  1. Brandon Wright Says:

    I also think calling for a suspension is silly, it was not dangerous and not even enough to cause any damage to either car. I think a light slap on the wrist and a reminder that this isn’t NASCAR is probably in order, but I also believe Will was somewhat justified in doing it and that Devlin kind of deserved it. I believe I commented on that post, saying IndyCar fans want drivers to show passion and emotion but then when a driver shows passion and emotion some call for him to be suspended. It’s all silly, but also typical.

    • Brandon Wright Says:

      Also, my thoughts are with you and Susan. I hope everything is ok and she pulls through all of this soon.

  2. Power isn’t the one who deserves some kind of time out. The driver he hit, on the other hand, should receive some sort of sanction, even if it’s being held out of a practice for 20 minutes, De Francesco has been involved/caused at least four incidents this year.

    • Bruce Waine Says:

      How about establishing a rule whereby if you are at fault of causing a driver to spin, etc, and you are able to continue to drive , then you must surrender your on track position to said driver once said driver returns to the track and you take the track position of the other driver.

      If the other driver is not able to finish the race due to the accident that you caused, you, as the cause of the accident, are then scored a minimmum of one place after the driver whose DNF you caused.

      I believe that any driver who causes an avoidable accident not be allowed to continue to race !

      How is that idea for implementing?

      A driver causes an accident , yet is allowed to continue to compete, gain points, etc. while the other driver loses points……..

      Are the current rules Equitable ?

      • Big Mac Says:

        I think this can be abused easily.

        it;s the last race of the season, and Drivers A and B are competing for the season championship. A taps C, who is B’s teammate. C immediately drives off course, shuts off the engine, and loses a few laps waiting for a tow, thereby ensuring that he will finish near the back of the field and, in so doing, taking A out the hunt for the championship.

  3. dieseld68 Says:

    I agree with you. Half the field would have been suspended at one time or another for doing the same thing. Its racing and a hip check is better than a fist fight.

  4. billytheskink Says:

    A suspension might have been warranted had Power done that on pit lane, or had he actually wrecked DeFrancesco, but not for this. Power probably should be told not to do it again, lest anyone makes a habit of it. I wonder how many drivers are now thinking they should have hip-checked Will last year in Nashville…

    Prayers continue for Susan and for you, George.

  5. I also agree with everyone here that this did not look like an offense warranting a suspension. DeFrancesco has had quite a few moments this season and drivers may be getting fed up with his mistakes. Unfortunately for Will this was his weekend to be on the receiving end. No harm to either driver or crew….no suspension.

  6. Big Mac Says:

    I’m a little torn on this one.

    On one hand, when I saw it, I liked it. DeFrancesco had it coming to him. We all know that his performance didn’t really justify his presence in the series, and that the only reason that he’s in the series is because his dad waved a fat check at Michael Andretti. (And Andretti took it, and put DeFrancesco in that seat instead of the far more qualified Kyle Kirkwood, which is the kind of focus on the short term rather than the long term that shows the difference between Andretti and Roger Penske.) He was clearly at fault this time, even though he pretended that what he did was no worse than what Power had done to him a few turns earlier, and this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened with DeFrancesco, so I felt that he was getting his just desserts.

    OTOH, it’s not Will Power’s role to be meting out justice, even if he really, really thinks that what he’s doing is just, and even if he’s right that the other driver is at fault. I think that some sort of penalty is necessary, to discourage others from taking the law into their own hands in the future. But I think that suspending Power for a race or more is disproportionate. If Power’s actions had occurred in some other context, and had placed DeFrancesco or others in any sort of danger, then a suspension—perhaps for much more than a single race, depending on the circumstances—would have been justified. But no one is going to get hurt as a result of a hip check on the cooldown lap. I think that sending Power a bill for any repair costs that resulted from that hip check would be fair, and I think I’d assess some other relatively minor penalty. I’m not sure just what it would be, but think of it as the equivalent of a few days of community service—enough to make him think twice before doing it again.

  7. Patrick Says:

    Will and Devlin have reportedly talked it over and reached an understanding. There was no real harm done by Will’s move on the cooldown lap. Officials might tell him this is not what they want to see again, and Devlin needs a talking to as well. I don’t believe a suspension or fine is necessary. Curt Cavin said Jay Frye likes to deal with these matters behind the scene when possible.

  8. Michele Porten Says:

    I thought it was comical as well as justified. It was merely a love tap and nobody endangered.

    Thoughts and prayers with you and Susan.

  9. Jim Gray Says:

    No harm, no foul and I agree there should definitely be no penalty. Something happened, someone hip checked to let him know he wasn’t happy, they talked about it and now we move on. People can be stupid at times, be it in a car or behind a keyboard typing on Fb.

  10. Yannick Says:

    Thanks for the update. Here’s hoping for a full and quick recovery for Susan.

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