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INDYCAR Acts On Rahal’s Fueling Violation

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 1 2015
Graham Rahal was issued a penalty by INDYCAR on Wednesday.

Graham Rahal was issued a penalty by INDYCAR on Wednesday.

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Graham Rahal has been fined $10,000, with $5000 suspended, by INDYCAR officials for driving away from his pit stall with the fuel hose attached to his car en route to victory in Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Mi-Jack Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, bugindycarwas fined for violating Rule 7.10.1.2 (Pit Safety Violation; leaving pit with equipment attached to the car _ fuel hose). Additionally, crew member Phil Davis was placed on probation for three races for violating Rule 7.10.1.2 (Pit Safety Violation; leaving pit with equipment attached to car _ fuel hose).

Rahal pitted from second place on Lap 187 of the scheduled 250 around the 2-mile, D-shaped ACS oval in Fontana, Calif., for tires and fuel. The stop was clean until fueler Davis opted to re-hook the fueling hose a second time seconds before Rahal was given the signal to exit. Rahal drove off with a fuel buckeye connected to the side of his car, spilling ethanol fuel onto the bodywork and pavement. That piece of aluminum subsequently fell off at the exit of Turn 2 and prompted INDYCAR officials to wave another caution on Lap 191.

Rahal dropped to 17th on the grid after an extra stop but rallied to score his second career Verizon IndyCar Series victory. Rahal, who led 15 laps, snapped a 124-race winless streak dating to April 6, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Saturday’s race produced a record 80 lead changes, surpassing the previous Indy car record of 73 set at ACS in November 2001.

Rahal addressed the issue as a case of human error after the race. “Yeah, well, obviously that would have killed us,” said Rahal, who started 19th in the 23-car field. “Phil, my fueler, he’s being pretty hard on himself. I think he was concerned that we didn’t get in all the fuel that we needed to, which we did, and unfortunately he tried to kind of jam it back in there. But Phil is one of the best in this sport.

“My pit stops were excellent. I mean, honestly, that was one of our biggest gains all day was pits. We passed a lot of guys on the in-and-out laps and in the pits, so that was pretty good. But yeah, we were definitely lucky with that one. Unlucky but lucky because I went out of pit lane, and I was like, ‘The frigging thing won’t shift.’ I mean, I couldn’t figure out what it was. And then I looked in the mirror and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Not again.’ And then luckily it wasn’t in all the way, so when I kind of moved the car back-and-forth, it finally popped out.”

Meanwhile, reigning series champion Will Power was fined $25,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the season for violating Rule 9.3.1 (Improper Conduct) and Rule 9.3.1.8 (Improper Conduct; using improper, profane, or disparaging language or gestures in reference to any Official). Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Team Penske Chevrolet, was cited after pushing a member of the series’ medical team upon exiting his wrecked car. Power was being directed toward a safety vehicle when he pushed his hands against the chest of a male medical attendant.

The sanctioning body also levied the following penalties:

_ Tristan Vautier of Dale Coyne Racing was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the 2015 season for violating Rule 7.10.1.8 (Pit Safety Violation; contact with personnel).

_ Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet entry was fined $1,500 for violating Rule 7.10.1.5 (Pit Safety Violation; contact with equipment _ air hose).

_ The No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda entry of James Jakes was fined $500 for violating Rule 7.9.6 (Pit Procedures, unattended equipment _ wheel nut).

_ The No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda entry of Carlos Munoz was fined $500 for violating Rule 7.9.6 (Pit Procedures, unattended equipment _ wheel nut).

_ The No. 67 CFH Racing entry driven by Josef Newgarden was fined a total of $1,000 for twice violating Rule 7.9.6 (Pit Procedures, unattended equipment _ wheel nut and tire).

_ Chevrolet received a bonus of 60 manufacturer points and Honda a bonus of 30 points for having engines attain their life cycle during the Auto Club Speedway race weekend. According to Rule 10.6.4.2, 10 points are awarded to a manufacturer for an engine that successfully reaches its 2,500-mile life cycle.

Chevrolet engines that met the minimum were the No. 1 Team Penske (Will Power), No. 11 KVSH Racing (Sebastien Bourdais) and Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 83 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams entries (Sage Karam, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball), respectively.

Honda engines that met the life cycle requirement were the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Ryan Briscoe), No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal) and No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport (Gabby Chaves) entries.

_ Chevrolet and Honda each received a deduction of 60 manufacturer points for engines that did not attain their life cycle during the Auto Club Speedway race weekend. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 manufacturer points are deducted for an engine that fails to reach its 2,500-mile life cycle.

Chevrolet engines that did not achieve the minimum before being changed-out were the Nos. 2 and 3 Team Penske (Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves) and No. 4 KV Racing Technology (Stefano Coletti) entries.

Honda engines not reaching the life cycle minimum before being changed-out were the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (James Jakes), No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Enterprises (Takuma Sato) and No. 28 Andretti Autosport (Ryan Hunter-Reay) entries.

Following the adjustments, Chevrolet has 1,108 manufacturer championship points for the season and Honda has 921.

Members may contest the imposition of penalties pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, July 1 2015
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