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Wednesday was not a good day for Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Insult to injury, figuratively not literally.

Less than an hour into the six-hour long Indianapolis 500 practice session, on his second lap, he bobbled. He hit the SAFER barrier backwards at the end of Turn One, flipped up and over a full roll, landing on his wheels, and the caution flew. Castroneves walked out of the car and taken to the infield Indiana University Health Medical Center, which reported that Castroneves “was uninjured. He was checked and released. He is cleared to drive.” His car was towed away on a flat bed truck. Castroneves was in twentieth place at the time, running a 219.183 mph.

Helio Castroneves

That was the injury. The insult had come less than an hour before.

Wednesday noon, just prior to practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar announced a penalty dating back to last Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. While the penalty was not unexpected, the exact nature had been the source of much speculation.

“INDYCAR officials have penalized driver Helio Castroneves of Team Penske for violating Rule 9.3.3 (avoidable contact). Castroneves has been penalized eight points in the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers point standings.

“Following every event, the INDYCAR race stewards conduct a review of all racing incidents utilizing all the tools available – including car data, video replays and interviews with the competitors involved,” said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations, INDYCAR[. “With the benefit of additional camera angles during our post-race review of Saturday’s race, the stewards determined actions of the No. 3 car (Castroneves) were the cause of the first-lap incident. 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.”

The member may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.”

Team Penske has indicated there is no statement forthcoming from the team or Castroneves.

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was the car rear-ended by Castroneves, and he addressed the penalty moments before Wednesday practice.

“Obviously, the biggest, the downside of it is that we’re talking about it several days later when what we should be talking about is that the greatest race in the world is coming up. You know, in my view, the penalty that fits the crime is a drive through. It should have been during the race. And we’re talking about it now. Had they added a drive-through penalty (averaging about 25 seconds or so), I’m not exactly where I would have been in the finishing results, somewhere between 12th and 15th. They’re trying obviously to do the best thing they can, but it’s something that should have been addressed straight away. It’s just unfortunate.

“Obviously penalties come out on the following Wednesday. Had they reviewed the video, they could have come to a conclusion straight away on Sunday or Saturday night.”

Dixon would have preferred the penalty during the race. “That was my point. Avoidable contact is obviously a drive-through which could have been addressed in the first part of the race.

“These things happen. We all just want consistent rules, that we can race under. It’s not a job I would ever want to have. In the heat of the moment sometimes are said. That’s unfortunate.”

Dixon said he has not talked with Castroneves. “I haven’t got to see Helio yet.”

With that, said, Dixon golf-carted off with teammate, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Last Modified on May 13, 2015
This entry was posted in IndyCar
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