Changes to drive-thru penalties may be on IndyCar horizon

5 Comments

The Verizon IndyCar Series is not like a McDonald’s restaurant.

So look for potential changes to drive-thru penalties in the open-wheel series, according to a report by FoxSports.com’s Bruce Martin.

IndyCar president of competition Derrick Walker said he and other series officials will take a look at the inordinate number of drive-thru penalties thus far in 2014, and make changes if deemed appropriate.

Walker told Martin that in hindsight, many of the drive-thru penalties thus far this season may not necessarily have merited that kind of punishment.

“There are some instances where the drive-thru is too harsh a penalty for the infraction,” Walker told Martin. “For example, jumping the restart or the start. A drive-thru penalty can ruin a driver’s chances of contending for a victory and that is not what we are trying to do.

“A more appropriate penalty may be to have that driver give up three or four positions on the track rather than have him serve the drive-thru and either be at the end of the lead lap or a lap down.”

Walker, who oversees IndyCar Race Control, said any changes to drive-thru penalty situations likely won’t come until after this season.

“The drive-thru penalty will get a thorough review in the off-season and I would like to see it changed to a more appropriate penalty for some infractions,” Walker said.

Team Penske driver Will Power came into Saturday night’s race at Iowa having been called five times this season for drive-thru penalties, one of the most notable being last week at Pocono when he was penalized for blocking teammate Helio Castroneves.

But surprisingly, Power isn’t complaining about being penalized so much. Rather, he likes the drive-thru policy as it currently is.

“The good thing about a drive-thru penalty is it serves as quite a deterrent to not do that again,” Power told Martin. “If you only penalize a driver three or four positions for jumping the start then I might take that gamble to gain an extra position if they don’t call it.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

MRTI: Sunday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Mother Nature intervened heavily on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires both completed their second races of the weekend on a wet track.

Indy Lights saw Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward complete the weekend sweep – he won Race 1 on Saturday – while Pro Mazda had a wet and wild race of survival that saw a pair of leaders go off, giving way to another first-time winner in Pro Mazda at the end of the day.

Reports on both races are below.

Indy Lights: Race 2 Victory Completes Dominant Weekend for O’Ward

Pato O’Ward celebrates his Race 2 victory at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Andretti Autosport’s Pato O’Ward completed a perfect weekend at Barber Motorsports Park by claiming victory in Indy Lights Race 2 on Sunday.

Officials were forced to move the race up to 10:45 a.m. local time (11:45 ET) due to weather, and Race 2 began under a rain shower.

However, it did not deter O’Ward one bit, who rocketed off into the lead from the pole, and was never headed on his way to winning by over five seconds.

In addition to winning both races, O’Ward led every lap in both races, completing a weekend of utter dominance for the 18-year-old native of Mexico.

Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni came home in second, his best finish since moving up to Indy Lights this year, with Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta rounding out the podium.

The Belardi Auto Racing duo of Aaron Telitz and Santi Urrutia finished fourth and fifth, with Telitz finally finishing a race after only completing a combined four corners in the first three races of the season.

Urrutia, meanwhile struggled somewhat and faded to fifth after starting third.

Andretti’s Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman and Juncos’ Alfonso Celis Jr. rounded out the field in sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Results are below.

Pro Mazda: Harrison Scott Survives the Rain to Take First Pro Mazda Win

Harrison Scott and RP Motorsports celebrate victory in Pro Mazda Race 2 at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott managed to survive a track that started out damp, began drying out, and then became very wet during a downpour in the final laps to win in Pro Mazda Race 2 from Barber.

Scott, who started second, was able to pass Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson, the polesitter and Race 1 winner, on the inside entering Turn 5 on Lap 2, with Thompson running slightly off track on corner exit and falling back to third, with Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez going through into second.

Scott, Gutierrez, and Thompson stayed close the rest of the way, and Gutierrez even managed to make a nifty outside pass on Scott in Turn 5 on Lap 9 to take the lead.

However, rain, which hit the track briefly and stopped about 30 minutes before the race started, returned in the second half of the race, and progressively got heavier.

It all came to a head on Lap 21, when the slick conditions sent Gutierrez off course in Turns 7 and 8. He rejoined the track, but fell back to seventh, allowing Scott back into the lead.

Race Control quickly threw a caution as a result of the conditions, and the race finished under yellow, with Scott taking the checkered flag for his first Pro Mazda win.

Behind Scott, Thompson came home in second, with Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunhas in third. Cunha’s teammate Rinus VeeKay was fourth, with BN Racing’s David Malukas rounding out the Top 5.

Of note: Cape Motorsports’ Oliver Askew was one of a couple drivers who pitted for rain tires under the late yellow, gambling that the race may go back to green – he was running tenth at the time. However, because the race never went back to green, Askew was relegated to 12th at the end.

Results are below.

Note: Check back later for driver quotes.

Follow@KyleMLavigne