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Penske's Newgarden loses St. Pete IndyCar race win after violation

Josef Newgarden has been stripped of his victory in last month's IndyCar season-opener at St. Petersburg and his Team Penske team-mate Scott McLaughlin disqualified from third after violations were discovered.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Both drivers were struck from the results for wrongfully being able to use push-to-pass on restarts. The third Team Penske entry of Will Power received a 10-point penalty but was not stripped of his finish.

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward has been promoted to victory, with Power moved up to second and Andretti Global’s Colton Herta third.

An IndyCar statement said: “An extensive review of data from the race on the Streets of St. Petersburg revealed that Team Penske manipulated the overtake system so that the No. 2, 3 and 12 cars had the ability to use Push to Pass on starts and restarts.

“According to the IndyCar rulebook, use of overtake is not available during championship races until the car reaches the alternate start-finish line.

“It was determined that the No. 2 and the No. 3 gained a competitive advantage by using Push to Pass on restarts while the No. 12 did not.”

The violations became known during the warmup session for the Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend. Penske violated the following rules:

  • Rule 14.19.15. An indicator to enable Push to Pass will be sent via CAN communication from the timing and scoring beacon on board the Car to the team data logger. This signal must be passed on to the ECU unmodified and uninterrupted during all Road and Street Course Events.
  • Rule 14.19.16. Race Starts and any Race Restart that occurs before the lap prior to the white flag or prior to three minutes remaining in a timed Race Event will have the Push to Pass system disabled and will be enabled for a given Car once that Car reaches the alternate Start/Finish line.
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Per the rulebook, the violation is considered a “Race Procedure Penalty (9.2.2.), which includes the right to reposition the driver and car in the postings or results, with a disqualification (9.2.2.6) that includes the forfeit of points and awards.

All three of the Team Penske entries have been fined $25,000 and will forfeit all prize money associated with the race in St. Petersburg.

“The integrity of the IndyCar Series championship is critical to everything we do,” IndyCar President Jay Frye said.

“While the violation went undetected at St. Petersburg, IndyCar discovered the manipulation during Sunday’s warmup in Long Beach and immediately addressed it ensuring all cars were compliant for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“Beginning with this week’s race at Barber Motorsports Park, new technical inspection procedures will be in place to deter this violation.”

The penalties also see Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon as the championship leader, two points ahead of Herta.

Following IndyCar’s announcement, Team Penske President Tim Cindric issued a statement that noted the software for the push-to-pass system was not removed.

“Unfortunately, the Push to Pass software was not removed as it should have been, following recently completed hybrid testing in the Team Penske Indy cars,” Cindric said.

“This software allowed for Push to Pass to be deployed during restarts at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix race, when it should not have been permitted.

“The No. 2 car driven by Josef Newgarden and the No. 3 car driven by Scott McLaughlin both deployed Push to Pass on a restart, which violated IndyCar rules. Team Penske accepts the penalties applied by IndyCar.”

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