Kiwi driver Scott Dixon's IndyCar title hopes took a hit today after he was handed a penalty while leading the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma for clipping a pit member of a rival team.
Dixon led until he received a drive-through penalty with 15 laps to go for clipping a tyre in the left hand of Will Power's tyre holder while Dixon drove out of his pit directly behind Power's spot.
The tyre holder went flying into another crew member, and a third member was injured by an air gun. Power went on to win the race while Dixon finished 15th.
An angry Dixon said after the race that Power's tyre holder got in his way on purpose.
"He's walking straight into our car. You can see where the other is, he's walked towards us on purpose. That's probably the most blatant thing I've seen in a long time. If you watch most pit guys they try to get out of the way of other people, so that was a bit of a dick move right there to be honest," Dixon said.
"Pretty annoyed with that. We had a strong car all day and if that's the way they want to try and win then that's pretty bad.
"He's probably trying to get me to stop and try and turn more but at that point you're wheel-spinning off and I had a straight line out of the pit and he just walked into it. I don't know what to say, you look at the people in race control and how they make their calls, so I look forward to seeing what that's all about because the consistency is horrible."
Dixon lost ground on overall IndyCar leader Helio Castroneves, who finished seventh. He now sits 39 points behind the Brazilian with three races remaining. Drivers are awarded 50 points for a race win, however Dixon has never won at the remaining three venues.
Power, who recorded his third victory in four years at Sonoma, said he felt bad for Dixon but didn't think his crew member got in the New Zealander's way on purpose.
"Dixon took a big hit there for sure. I feel bad for him but I can't count the amount of times that sort of thing has happened to us in the last two years so we'll take it."
Asked if Power thought a pit crew member would intentionally try and get hit he said: "I would be very surprised".