Helio Castroneves dominated on Saturday night in the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway but on Tuesday his Penske Racing IndyCar Series team was penalized for racing with the rear of its underwing out of specification. IndyCar did not take the win away from Castroneves and also did not take any points away from the championship leader.
Team Penske was fined $35,000 and docked 15 entrant points.
The rule the team specifically broke was Rule 126.96.36.199, which states "The exit of the underwing height is 7.600 inches with a tolerance of plus 0.050 inches and minus 0.000 inches."
“Obviously we are very disappointed that the No. 3 car did not pass post-race inspection after Saturday’s race at Texas," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "The rule in question (188.8.131.52) states that the diffuser exit must measure 7.600.” After the race, ours was 7.575” 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."
It sure didn't seem that way as Castroneves led the final 132 of 228 laps and lapped past all but five cars.
No word on whether Team Penske will appeal the penalties, but considering that the penalties are not too steep like what Penske Racing suffered at Texas Motor Speedway on the NASCAR side earlier this season, it would seem likely that there will not be an appeal.
Castroneves has a 22 point lead over Marco Andretti in the standings after eight races. Up next is the Milwaukee IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile this Saturday, June 15th.
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