Tristan Vautier penalized for Rahal crash

Tristan Vautier and Graham Rahal collided on Lap 93, leading to an avoidable contact penalty for the Dale Coyne Racing driver.

Tristan Vautier penalized for Rahal crash
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Chevrolet
Tristan Vautier, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Race start

93 laps into the 500-miler at Pocono Raceway, Honda watched their lone shot at a championship slamming into the wall after contact with another Honda driver.

Graham Rahal was battling with Justin Wilson when Tristan Vautier went to make it three wide on the inside. Upon realizing the door was being shut, he attempted to back out, but it was far too late. He collided with Rahal and both made heavy contact with the wall, leaving Graham furious (Crash Video).

Rahal's title chances take a hit

"Unfortunately, just driving against a guy there who isn't using his head," the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver said after leaving the infield care center. "He's a part-timer, trying to prove himself again. He did mistakes like this his first year, lost his ride and it's a hard thing. I think Tristan is a talented guy, but in a position like that, you just don't do that.

It was deemed that the contact was avoidable and so, Vautier will miss the first two hours of Friday practice at Sonoma. He has also been docked three points and fined $10,000. 

Rahal entered the race just nine points adrift of championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya, but left 34pts back. Vautier, who was already on probation for striking one of his crew members at Fontana, defended the move.

Other post-Pocono penalties

This was not the only penalty issued after the hectic and unfortunately, tragic race at Pocono. Montoya was fined $3,000 for running over Ed Carpenter's air hose. Andretti Autosport was also fined $5,000 when their driver Carlos Munoz ran over an air hose.

A.J. Foyt Racing was fined $2,500 for releasing Jack Hawksworth from the pits with a loose wheel, which caused a caution.

On the manufacturer side, Honda was docked 20 points for changing the engine in Gabby Chaves' BHA car before it reached its 2500 mile minimum threshold. The rookie driver impressed Sunday, leading 31 laps before a late-race engine failure that caused the event to end under yellow.

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