INDYCAR Slaps Texas-Winner With Big Penalty
INDYCAR, sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, penalized race-winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske Tuesday afternoon following an infraction discovered during post-race technical inspection after Saturday night’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 AAA Insurance Dallara/Chevrolet, has been fined $35,000 and docked 15 entrant points for not complying with Rule 126.96.36.199 (Underwing). Team Penske may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the protest and appeal sections of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook.
Castroneves scored his first victory of the 2013 season, record-setting fourth on TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile quadoval and the 28th of his career by 4.6919-seconds over reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. Castroneves, who led a race-high 132 of 228 laps in the event after taking the lead on Lap 96, exited Fort Worth with a 22-point lead in the championship standings over Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport.
Pending an appeal, Castroneves will take a seven-point lead over Andretti into the Milwaukee IndyFest on Saturday at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
Team Penske released the following statement attributed to Tim Cindric, Penske Racing president, shortly after the penalties were announced.
“Obviously we are very disappointed that the No. 3 car did not pass post-race inspection after Saturday’s race at Texas,” Cindric said. “The rule in question (188.8.131.52) states that the diffuser exit must measure 7.600-inches. After the race, ours was 7.575-inches because we neglected to tighten the braces that position the rear of the diffuser following pre-race inspection.
“The way Helio’s car raced did not provide any advantage as a lower diffuser height actually adds drag and reduces downforce. To ensure this is the case, we ran this configuration in the wind tunnel on Monday morning and found that the No. 3 car actually raced with three pounds less downforce and one pound more drag than what it would have had if we tightened the underwing braces properly.”
Cindric did not specifically state that team-owner Roger Penske would opt to file an appeal.
The Milwaukee IndyFest will be televised live at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com.
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