IndyCar has placed Graham Rahal on probation for six races for his role in an accident with Marco Andretti.
IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield says Rahal was both blocking and initiated avoidable contact on the 22nd lap of Sunday's race in Long Beach, Calif. Andretti ran into the back of Rahal's car, and the contact caused Andretti's car to briefly launch into the air and spin into a barrier.
Andretti said after the accident that Rahal had chopped him, and added, "I'm lucky I didn't get upside down. I could have been killed."
Rahal denied chopping in front of Andretti.
Barfield said a review of the accident by all of IndyCar's stewards determined Rahal had endangered on-track safety and adversely affected competition.
"Due to the inability of the No. 38 car to continue the race, a review of the on-track actions of Graham Rahal became a post-race issue," said Beaux Barfield, INDYCAR president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director. "All stewards have reviewed the incident and have decided that the on-track actions of Graham warranted probation because of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition."
The probation period will end following the IZOD IndyCar Series event June 23 at Iowa Speedway. If the improvements are not met, INDYCAR may impose other penalties at its discretions.
Both drivers declined to comment Tuesday.
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Per Rule 9.3.2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, a driver must not alter his/her racing line based on the actions of pursuing drivers to inhibit or prevent passing. Blocking will result in a minimum of a black flag "drive through" penalty.
Rule 9.3.3 states a competitor must not initiate or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the interruption of another competitor's lap time or track position.
The probation penalty may be protested pursuant to the rulebook.
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