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Castroneves gets a wrist-slap

May 13, 2015
Castroneves enters turn 1 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course - Anne Proffit photo

Castroneves enters turn 1 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – Anne Proffit photo

INDYCAR finally gave an infraction to Helio Castroneves for his avoidable contact with Scott Dixon at the start of last Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile infield course that includes part of the historic 25-mile oval.

Castroneves, who started third in the contest made a late-braking maneuver and contacted the rear of fellow Chevrolet driver Dixon. The Team Penske man’s tap spun out the Target Chip Ganassi driver and caused him to stall his car. Behind this duo, a lot of drama ensued as the 25 cars powered down the straightaway toward the first-gear first turn.

As a result of research done by Verizon IndyCar Series officials, Castroneves has been penalized eight driver’s points in the standings. He can contest the penalty pursuant to procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures, as designated in the series’ rulebook.

“Following every event, the INDYCAR race stewards conduct a review of all racing incidents, utilizing all the tools available,” said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations. Included among those tools are car data, video replays and interviews with the competitors involved in the incident. “With the benefit of additional camera angles during our post-race review of Saturday’s race, the stewards determined the clear cause of the first-lap incident was the No. 3 car didn’t stop in time,” Walker noted.

“This obviously changed our view of the entire incident. At the conclusion of every post-race review, all penalty options are available to the stewards and they determined an avoidable contact penalty was warranted.”

Even with this points deduction Castroneves retains third-place points with 153; Dixon lies fourth with 144 points after the fifth race of the season.

It remains to see whether Team Penske and Castroneves will petition the series for an additional review. Castroneves’ teammate Juan Pablo Montoya did note that incidents of this nature are bound to happen when you’ve got 25 cars bellowing down the straight and having to come to a near-stop to make a corner of this nature.

INDYCAR did not, at this time address the concerns of competitor Tony Kanaan, who was disturbed by the actions of his peers that took the escape route during the ensuing melee, making up spots in the process while Kanaan took to the grass but remained on the original track designation.

Words and Photo By Anne Proffit

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