Castroneves fined for Edmonton actions

By Dave Lewandowski

IZOD IndyCar Series officials have fined driver Helio Castroneves $60,000 and placed him on probation for the remainder of the season for his actions during and following the July 25 race at Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Castroneves was penalized for refusing to follow the direction of officials as well as portraying unsportsmanlike conduct when he engaged in physical contact with two officials on pit lane after the conclusion of the race. IZOD IndyCar Series officials met with Castroneves at the Indianapolis headquarters Aug. 1. He will issue a statement later.

“This rule is unique to IndyCar racing,” said race chief steward Brian Barnhart, who is president of competition and racing operations for the sanctioning body. “It was put in place to protect our competitors, officials and fans, prevent unnecessary damage to these cars and allow for more passing opportunities. Bad things happen when these cars touch and there have been serious incidents with major consequences on temporary circuits throughout Indy car history. With the new wheel interlocking prevention technology that is coming in our 2012 car, we will be re-evaluating this rule in the future.”

Castroneves was leading the race at Edmonton when he was issued a black flag for blocking Team Penske teammate Will Power on Lap 93 following a restart. But the driver of the No. 3 car failed to take the drive-through pit lane penalty.

Following the race, Castroneves was penalized 20 seconds and placed at the end of the lead lap (10th). After exiting his car, Castroneves engaged in altercations with two officials on pit lane.

“I fully support the decisions of chief steward Brian Barnhart and Race Control,” IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said. “The drivers have been aware of the blocking rule for quite some time. Brian reminded the drivers of the blocking rule in the Edmonton pre-race drivers’ meeting, which serves as the first warning, and the rule was executed during the race just as it dictates.

“This sport is so close and competitive that emotions are always on display. However, that does not justify the post-race conduct of Helio toward series officials. This is a very serious matter and we weighed all options, including suspension. But we felt suspension would hurt the fans more than anyone else. Fans have paid their hard-earned money to watch the best drivers in the world and many bought their tickets for upcoming events with the expectation of watching Helio. He is a great ambassador for this sport and we know his actions after the race in Edmonton are not indicative of his normal behavior.”

Unlike other team sports, the penalty solely impacts the driver.

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