Urrutia, Jones, Stoneman at GPI. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Top three drivers in Indy Lights points placed on probation

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The good news for Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman and Santiago Urrutia in this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires is that they’ve become the three most likely protagonists in the battle for the championship, with one of them a strong candidate to win the title and secure the Mazda advancement scholarship into the Verizon IndyCar Series that comes with it.

The bad news is that aggression has more than occasionally shown through in their driving habits in the opening nine races this season, with each of the three driving more aggressively than normal in at least one of the two Indy Lights races this past weekend at Road America.

Stoneman and Urrutia were both issued five second time penalties added to the end of their race times on Saturday for hitting another competitor on track. Then on Sunday, Jones was the aggressor, as he drove Stoneman off the road on the run up to Turn 6.

For their actions, all three drivers have been placed on probation through the end of the season, which is essentially a big warning from the series to say clean your act up or you’ll suffer more serious sanctions.

Jones has 213 points with Stoneman second on 194 and Urrutia third on 189.

Here’s the release from the series out today:

Three drivers today were placed on probation by Race Director Tony Cotman following Rounds 8 and 9 of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition at Road America this past weekend.

Dean Stoneman of Andretti Autosport, Santiago Urrutia of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports w/ Curb-Agajanian and Ed Jones of Carlin have been placed on probation through the end of the 2016 season for misconduct leading up to and including the Road America event. If Stoneman, Urrutia and/or Jones are involved in any additional incidents including unsportsmanlike conduct and dangerous or over aggressive driving as determined by the Race Director, they will be penalized with the loss of a minimum of 10 championship points.

“The notices issued do not preclude a driver from racing hard, but serve as a reminder on how to race over the final eight rounds of the championship,” said Cotman.

Helio Castroneves will replace ailing Oliver Askew for IndyCar at IMS

Helio Castroneves replacing Askew
James Black/IndyCar
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Helio Castroneves will return to the NTT IndyCar Series next weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, replacing Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew in the No. 7 Dallara- Chevrolet.

The team announced in a Thursday release that Askew wasn’t cleared by the IndyCar medical team after reporting “a balance and coordination issue” after the Sept. 12-13 race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer reported that Askew has been experiencing the concussion-like symptoms since his Aug. 23 wreck in the Indy 500.

Askew was placed in IndyCar’s Return to Racing Protocol. The rookie has endured an up-and-down season, suffering another hard crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the July 4 race on the road course. He also finished third and sixth on back-to-back races at Iowa Speedway in July.

“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the INDYCAR Medical Team and my doctors,” Askew said in the release. “My priority right now is focusing on my health. Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”

Castroneves will be driving this weekend at Mid-Ohio for Team Penske in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner has said he actively is seeking a ride for the 2021 season in IndyCar or IMSA with the demise of Penske’s DPi program as Acura switches to new teams next year.

Here’s the release from Arrow McLaren SP:

Arrow McLaren SP driver Oliver Askew will withdraw from the INDYCAR Harvest Grand Prix, after being declared not fit to drive by the INDYCAR Medical Team.

Following the INDYCAR race at Mid-Ohio, Oliver reported a balance and coordination issue, which triggered an examination from the INDYCAR Medical Team. As a result, Oliver is not medically cleared to race and is subject to INDYCAR’s Return to Racing Protocol.

“This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the INDYCAR Medical Team and my doctors. My priority right now is focusing on my health,” Askew said. “Despite not being in the car, I will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest GP, giving whatever insight and support to Arrow McLaren SP that I can.”

Askew will be replaced in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet by Helio Castroneves for the upcoming doubleheader Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“The welfare of Oliver, our team members and fellow competitors is paramount,” said Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt.

“We therefore support Oliver and the decision of INDYCAR. Withdrawing to focus on his health and recovery is the right thing to do.”

Helio will join Pato O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, to complete the team’s driver lineup in Indianapolis.

“First and foremost, we wish Oliver the best and that he is able to take time to recover,” said Helio. “I look forward to getting back on track and helping to build on the great progress that Arrow McLaren SP has made this year.”