The Indy Racing League has revealed that the teams, drivers and ‘non-uniformed hard card credential holders’ involved in a post-race altercation at Watkins Glen on Sunday will all be punished for their part in the incident.
What began as an on-track disagreement between Tony Kanaan and Sam Hornish Jr – after the Brazilian felt that his rival had barged him out of the way in an opportunist overtaking move – spilled over into pit-lane after retribution continued after the chequered flag. Although Kanaan insisted that he had no intention of striking Hornish, he was aggrieved that the American’s father had intervened physically. Contact between Hornish Sr and Kanaan then brought members of both the Andretti Green and Penske teams into the fray, with security staff also getting involved after Hornish Sr was felled by an assailant initially unknown.
Team Penske and Andretti Green Racing have both been fined $25,000 for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct on pit-road’, while Kanaan and Hornish Jr were both given fines of an unspecified amount.
In addition, the League announced that Anthony Fedele has had his League-issued hard card – which was granted through Andretti Green Racing – and credential request opportunities suspended indefinitely. Hornish Sr has been suspended from pit lane for one race, while the teams, drivers and Hornish Sr have all been placed on probation until the end of the calendar year.
"We are disappointed in the actions of the drivers, the team members and the non-team members involved in the incident," said IRL president of racing operations Brian Barnhart, "We believe that emotions play a role in our sport, but it is unfortunate that others took it as an opportunity to become involved.
"We have spoken with both drivers and believe them when they said that there was never going to be physical contact between them, but entering the ‘field of play’, even after the checkered flag, and actively becoming engaged in anything outside of celebration is inappropriate and inexcusable. Safety is a priority and, while we do not condone incidents like Sunday’s, it was an even more precarious position with cars still running at pit speeds."
The penalized parties have the opportunity to appeal the penalty, although such action may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalty. AGR boss Michael Andretti – who, himself, had been restrained from getting involved by son Marco – has said that he would be happy to consign the incident to history.
"We certainly regret the incident that occurred, and respect the penalties handed down today by the Indy Racing League," he said in a brief statement, "Racing is an emotional sport and it is unfortunate that those emotions carried into the post-race activities on Sunday. "We are looking forward to putting this incident behind us and are focused on battling for the IndyCar Series throughout the remaining seven races"