Saavedra fined $30,000 and RLL gets more penalties after Detroit

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Emotion got the better of Sebastian Saavedra in the heat of the moment in the first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit. Turns out emotion got the better of his wallet, too.

The Colombian, in his second full season in the IZOD IndyCar Series and driver of the No. 6 TrueCar Chevrolet for Dragon Racing, was fined $30,000 on Thursday for making an improper gesture – the “double angry birds” – toward a fellow competitor. Marco Andretti contacted Saavedra and put him into the wall at the outside of Turn 4.

There is a precedent – Will Power was fined $30,000 for the same offense, directed at INDYCAR  race control at Loudon, N.H. in 2011. Yet interestingly, a dust-up between Power and E.J. Viso at Iowa last year where the two exchanged improper gestures, did not garner a penalty.

This offense is a violation of Rule 9.3.1.8 of the 2013 INDYCAR rulebook, and Saavedra can work off the fine by “by making a series of public appearances on behalf of INDYCAR throughout the remainder of the season.”

Saavedra tweeted shortly thereafter: “Well.. quite an expensive one after @detroitgp I guess ill stop getting my everyday hair massage until I pay it off. Off to @TXMotorSpeedway.”

He wasn’t the only one docked. James Jakes’ Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry was fined a total of $10,000 for two rear wing infractions (Rules 14.6.4.6 and 14.6.4.9). Jakes had his best weekend yet in IndyCar with a second-place finish in race two and two top-five qualifying efforts. The RLL team had also been penalized both after qualifying and in-race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the latter penalty rescinded by INDYCAR.

Jakes clarified via Twitter that the penalty was a post-qualifying, not post-race, violation: “Just to give everyone heads up it was a post qualifying fine not post race.”

Meanwhile Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power, two former Champ Car rivals, were each placed on probation for their dust-up in the Turn 1 pileup in race two. Power was penalized for improper actions toward a fellow competitor after contact during Race 2 (throwing his race gloves), and Bourdais was penalized for comments made toward Officials on pit road after Race 2. Power, somewhat cheekily, said Bourdais “once was a champ, and now is a chump” in his TV interview after the incident.

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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