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


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 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.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.