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Short: CRP Considered COTA Withdrawal in Penalty Protest

CRP considered packing up after SprintX Race 1 penalty at COTA…

Photo: CRP Racing

CRP Racing boss Nick Short said he considered pulling his Pirelli World Challenge SprintX entry Saturday night in protest of the incident responsibility penalty his team received in Race 1 at Circuit of The Americas.

Daniel Morad and Ryan Dalziel went on to claim victory in the final SprintX race of the weekend, after electing to still race.

On Saturday, Morad was assessed a drive-through penalty by the race stewards, who deemed him to be responsible for the Lap 1 fracas that resulted in Patrick Long’s spin in Turn 1 after being hit by Alvaro Parente’s K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.

According to Short, the stewards determined that Parente moved to avoid Morad, who was coming up the inside in his orange Mercedes-AMG GT3, which initiated the contact with Long.

Short had a lengthy discussion with series officials following the race during which he says he was told that Morad was at blame, even though he did not make contact with Parente.

“We were told we caused the accident even though we didn’t hit Alvaro,” Short told Sportscar365.

“We were told because the big orange car came down the inside, made the turn, that Alvaro moved to stop us from hitting him even though we hadn’t hit him.

“It didn’t look like we were going to hit him. We were down the side of him. Alvaro’s reaction to the orange car, they said, caused the accident, which I don’t understand.

“It’s not my job to control Alvaro Parente from running into [Long] who he is fighting in the championship. He’s a big boy, he’s a factory race car driver, he needs to be held accountable for his actions.”

Short said he left his meeting dissatisfied and considered withdrawing from Race 2, going as far as to pack up the car and much of the team’s equipment from the garage, although ultimately electing to stay to fulfill his commitments to team partners.

He cited disagreements over officiating, extending beyond instances in which his own team was involved, as his major grievance.

“I’m disappointed in the series and their decisions of what they see on the race track,” Short said.

“I sat down with them yesterday, and the easiest way to put it is that [Race 1 pole-sitter] Johnny O’Connell who led the field to the green flag is getting a three-grid spot penalty for jumping the start.

“How does the guy jump the start that’s leading the field to the flag? You wave him off, or you green flag him. As soon as you green flag him, you’ve okayed him. He’s supposed to accelerate first and get the advantage on the field.

“Those are the kind of decisions that are disappointing me with the series. And it’s everybody up and down here. It’s not just a Nick Short thing.

“When drivers congregate at the end of your garage at the end of the race and we’re all talking about the same thing, the series needs to sit up and take notice.”

PWC President and CEO Greg Gill said he supports the stewards’ decisions made on Saturday regarding the incident.

“We respect the rights of our paddock members to disagree with our Stewardship and management decisions,” Gill said in a statement provided to Sportscar365. “We work daily with the members of our paddock on their competition questions.

“We will back the decisions of our Stewards in this matter.”

While he said his team will complete the rest of the PWC season, Short said that he’s considering alternatives for next year.

“I’m pretty much one of the only ones that has commercial sponsors so I have contracts with people. I have to continue through,” Short said.

“I’m always looking at places like IMSA to see if I can get what I consider to be a fairer playing field. I’ve considered doing the Intercontinental [GT Challenge] championship.

“You’re always looking for a better place. [PWC] wouldn’t be a bad place if it was run like the Blancpain series is run. When I talk to guys about the Blancpain series, whether it’s Bentley or McLaren, they seem to be happy with most everything.

Short said he hoped a greater involvement from the SRO could help rectify the situation.

“[Stephane] Ratel and these guys need to be here Johnny on the spot,” he said. “I think they do an excellent job around the world, but I think they need to be here Johnny on the spot looking at the series deeper.

“[SRO Technical Director] Claude Surmont needs to be here or an appointed guy to understand the difference between endurance racing and sprint racing.

“I think they’ll get there. I think Claude always gets there, as I understand it. But it’s not there yet. But the customer needs answers, and not ‘because that’s the way we want to do it.’ People will walk away.”

Gill added: “Regarding our application of the SRO BoP, we are in regular communication with Stephane Ratel about relevant Series matters and with Claude Surmont regarding the SRO BoP.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Binky

    September 4, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    The stewarding was pretty bad at COTA, even by PWC standards. Cost CRP the title basically, but they’re just a small independent team, not the factory team that also sponsors the series, so the right parties should pleased with the results.

    • thingsthatmakeyougohmmm

      September 4, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Very true.

      Same team that was allowed to basically lap the entire field under yellow a few races ago.

  2. Matt

    September 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    If PWC doesn’t bring in new stewards quickly there’s going to be nobody left in the series next year.

  3. Everything's Great

    September 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    PWC have been shooting themselves in the foot for a few years now. Remember when this series used to be fun?

    • GT Racer

      September 4, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Totally agree, would have thought the departure of Bove and the arrival of the SRO investment would have improved things, but incidents like this shows their SCCA club racing DNA is hard to overcome.

      • DEJ

        September 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Yes ,bad stuff. Wish the whole Sprint thing would go away.”I” don`t care for it. Let it be a road race.

        • DEJ

          September 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

          If this Sprint X junk continues for next year I am done watching PWC !!! No threat !

      • Dr Martin Van Nostrand

        September 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        You can put the pro in the SCCA, but you can’t take out the amateur.

    • Sol Shine

      September 5, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Yes, it was fun, a long time ago. Been going downhill for quite a few years now, sadly. They have truly lost their way and not just in GT, GTS and TC are junk as well.

  4. Gaucherie

    September 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Semi-pro club series race officials in continuing to make weird decisions shocker. Haven’t watched any PWC races this year, totally lost interest in it since it was fun years ago.

  5. cbbrit

    September 4, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Both Stephane Ratel and Claude Surmont were at CoTA this weekend by the way!

  6. Doug P

    September 4, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Its a wrap when the drivers, owners and spectators all think the same thing about both Sprint X and the way decisions are made. Management can “stand by” whatever they want, but ignoring most everyone results in standing alone by themselves.

    Can I be any clearer? I already decided not to return to Mosport after many many years of watching if Sprint X is there.

  7. Turn 6 is Waving Yellow

    September 4, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    It’s bad when they are considering IMSA over PWC. Just a few years ago there was a mass exodus from IMSA to PWC for the same reasons.

  8. jrw

    September 4, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Honest question, as someone who doesn’t follow that closely: why the hate for PWC?

    • Slicks in the wet

      September 5, 2017 at 5:21 am

      Inconsistency mostly.

      Inability to communicate reasons for actions too.

    • Sol Shine

      September 5, 2017 at 11:15 am

      They’ve lost their way. They had a good format, 1 hour sprint race, no other series at this level was doing that. The SprintX thing is just way off the mark, it’s not a sprint due to mandatory pit stop/driver change, and it’s not endurance at 1 hour length. It’s just dumb. Then throw in the BOP nonsense that always looks like they’re just picking a winner to keep someone happy. Then there’s the inconsistent and heavy handed officiating. Also high entry fees, I read GTS is $3K per weekend, paid in advance before the season starts and non-refundable. Chump change to some but for sure that’s helping to downsize their grid.

  9. Sol Shine

    September 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I looked at the video of that incident several times. Calling it Morad’s fault seems a bit much, he was cleanly on the inside of Parente and it looked like Parente ran wide mid to late corner and got into Long. I’m no Morad fan, he has used questionable judgement before, but in this case I just don’t see him at fault.

    • Dan

      September 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Morad made a late dive and Alvaro ran wide to avoid a collision with Morad which was caused him to hit long. If Alvaro had held his line he would likely have been hit by Morad. Despite never making any contact he did basically set off the events that led to contact and that’s what I’m guessing he was judged at fault for that. Not saying it was malicious just bad judgment. Plenty of series do the same thing. PWC is hardly the only series that does this.

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  11. Jeff Wagner

    September 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    It’s nice to know as fans we aren’t the ONLY ones that feel like were are in the middle of the forest yelling at the top of our lungs with nobody around to hear. The Drivers, and the Teams feel exactly the same way regarding W/C being DESTROYED by BRE-X And USAC Officials. I MUST point out however they chose to go to USAC from SCCA! They go from SCCA to USAC? When you make a change in partnership as a business aren’t you supposed to make an improvment in the partner replacing the previous one, and it have higher ability and service standards? The partner should not be PROVEN to be no better and possibly WORSE! What have you gained? The Drivers and Teams should have backed up the 95%+ Fans from DAY 1 that RAGED against SPRINT-X and said it would RUIN this GREAT series. I only read Johnny O’Connell say anything! Thanks Johnny for backing us up!

  12. jimbo

    September 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I think this was more of just a racing incident. Morad should not have been penalized. The cars were all bunched up someone touched and spun, so what. All series, not just PWC are too quick to penalize drivers. It sucks when the series dictates the outcome of the race. LET THE DRIVERS RACE. If they touch and someone spins then thats racing. Just because there is contact doesn’t meant they automatically have to assess a penalty. If someone intentionally takes someone out then that is different.

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