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Daly's False Start Penalty Alters History

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:27 am Star Mazda

During yesterday’s Star Mazda race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Conor Daly and Tristan Vautier were given drive-through penalties for “jumping the start.”  The problem is, Conor didn’t jump the start. At least not according to the rule book.

The official Star Mazda rule book states:

T.3.d. The red lights will illuminate in sequence until all are lighted.
T.3.e. The race starts once all red lights go out and the green lights are on, (not less than half a second, but no more than three seconds).
T.3.f. A car has committed a false start, if it moves beyond the start box or is moving forward when the start signal turns green.
T.3.g. A penalty will be imposed for a false start judged by the Officials. Decisions by the Officials are not subject to protest or appeal.

Both lead cars did creep a small amount while the lights were red due to the downhill grade of the front straight.  Daly’s car did stop, however, prior to the red lights going out and the green lights coming on.  His front wing was near the line of the start box, but all four tires were clearly within the designated box at the green light. Vautier, on the other hand, was still creeping forward, slightly, when the green lights came on.

Star Mazda Officials did come forward this morning and apologize to Conor for making an incorrect call.  Not that they had much choice in the matter, but their apology is extremely admirable and rare in the racing industry.  Sadly, their decision may have — and probably did — alter Star Mazda history.  Daly, who was starting from pole position, was looking to win his fifth consecutive Star Mazda race yesterday.  A feat no one else has ever accomplished in the history of the Series.

Mistakes happen and bad calls are made in every sport.  It’s part of life.  I guess the thing that really shocked me, in this instance, was the rush to make the call.  There was plenty of time to review the video of the start which proved Daly did not jump the start.  Regardless, the penalty was sent out almost immediately and by that time it was announced it was too late for anyone to do anything.  Let’s just hope this sort of mistake doesn’t happen again.

Daly and Vautier both handled the penalty remarkably well, showcasing their speed, maturity and ability to perform under pressure. Daly finished the race third after dropping back to 21st as a result of the penalty.  Vautier managed to fight his way back to sixth overall. Daly set the fast lap of the race 1:17.262 and Vautier set the second quickest lap of the race with a 1:17.444.

Update: Here is the video footage from the start.

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5 Comments

  1. John Caputo on June 29, 2010 2:40 pm

    Any video?

  2. Ryan on June 29, 2010 3:53 pm

    Hi John. I hope to have a video shortly. I will update the post with the footage as soon as it becomes available.

  3. Timmy Thomas on June 30, 2010 10:04 am

    The onboard starts as the green is already on so that does no justice. Far the other angle you can see the car moving as the green came out. Its a jumped either way if is Conor Daly Derek Daly Micheal Schumacher or Joe blow its still a jumped start. From another media source it is questioned whether the series actually apologized.

  4. alex on July 7, 2010 12:23 pm

    Connor’s car moved at the same time as everybody else

  5. Ricardo Juncos on July 10, 2010 9:44 am

    Thanks Alex,
    I agree with you, doesn’t take much to see that, people around the world saw it, also was live on HDNet… No doubt…

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