IndyCar: Marco Andretti fined; Sato, Conway cleared to drive today

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INDYCAR has announced a $2,500 fine and three races of probation for Marco Andretti after he failed to heed the blue flag during yesterday’s Race 1 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

The probation period begins with today’s Race 2 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra).

After pitting early for a flat tire at Lap 8, Andretti found himself running on the tail end of the lead lap and in front of Takuma Sato, who was leading the race at the time.

Sato’s lead over Andretti’s teammate, James Hinchcliffe, shrank as he was unable to get past Andretti. Race Control chose to give Andretti the blue flag, which tells the driver receiving it to let the faster car overtake.

But feeling that Andretti didn’t heed it quickly enough, Race Control then gave him the black flag and a drive-through penalty several laps later.

Officially, Andretti violated Rule 7.2.5.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

The sanctioning body has also announced that Sato and Mike Conway have been cleared to drive in today’s race after both of them crashed out yesterday.

On Lap 28, Conway slammed into the tire barriers at Turn 3 to bring out a full-course yellow. Then, on the restart at Lap 33, Sato and the lapped car of Mikhail Aleshin made contact going into Turn 6 and went into the outside wall.

Conway was diagnosed with a sprained left thumb after his incident, while Sato came away from his crash with a bruised right hand.

This morning, however, INDYCAR medical director Dr. Michael Olinger gave both of them the OK to compete today after re-evaluations.

Ticktum takes dramatic Macau GP win as leaders crash on last lap

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British youngster Dan Ticktum took a dramatic victory in the 64th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after the leading two cars crashed out at the final corner on the last lap of the race.

In an incident-packed race that saw front-row starters Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott clash early on amid a litany of Full Course Yellows, Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara was able to move into the lead ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Maximilian Günther.

Günther’s pace dropped off in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his tires alive, causing a train of cars to form up behind him including McLaren youngster Lando Norris and the Red Bull-backed Ticktum.

Ticktum pulled off a brilliant double-pass on Norris and Günther around the outside of Lisboa to move up to third, with Sette Camara and Habsburg dueling for position right the way to the finish.

Habsburg attempted a brave pass around the outside of the Mandarin kink, but was forced to wait until the penultimate straight before he got a tow and was able to pass for the lead.

Drama then struck when both Habsburg and Sette Camara ran wide and crashed into the wall exiting the final fast right-hander by their own accord, paving the way for Ticktum to charge through to victory.

Norris and Ralf Aron benefited from the crashes to score second and third place respectively, while Habsburg was able to get to the checkered flag in fourth on three wheels.