Helio Castroneves' Edmonton Outburst Still Under IRL Review
Indy Racing League president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart was quoted at the official IndyCar.com website as saying that he won't make any decision until after he talks with Castroneves.
"We've reviewed the videos since we've returned from Edmonton but I haven't had an opportunity to contact him," Barnhart told the website's Dave Lewandowski. "Hopefully, we'll be doing so very shortly. We're extremely disappointed in his behavior post-race but certainly understand his frustrations and emotions. He's a very passionate person and very competitive driver.
"That's still inexcusable to put your hands on an official and abuse the officials the way he did. We'll have a conversation, take his side into consideration as well as what he did, and act appropriately."
The incident occurred at the end of the race, with Castroneves leading on a restart with two laps to go. When the green flag fell, teammate Will Power made a bold, arching move to the outside on the wide racing surface to try to pass Castroneves on the left in the right-hand turn, but failed and lost second place to Scott Dixon.
The IRL called Castroneves for blocking and displayed the black flag, which means a driver is to come to the pits for consultation. Castroneves ignored it. The checkered flag was waved not for him, but Dixon, with Power second.
An enraged Castroneves, who ended up 10th after a penalty of 20 seconds was added to his time, stormed from his car after the race to yell at IndyCar officials. He ran across the infield, shouted and gestured up at the flag stand and then and grabbed Indy Racing League security chief Charles Burns by the lapels of his shirt, shaking him.
Power had won the pole and led much of the race, but Castroneves had taken the lead with 18 laps to go.
Castroneves apologized on his website but remained defiant.
Under a headline "Helio wins in Edmonton ... but is penalized." the driver said:
"Obviously, I disagree with the decisions made by the race officials on the last restart in today's race. It was absurd, because I never changed my racing line.
"Although we do not agree to the penalty, but there is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag. I apologize to my team, our sponsors, the fans and the entire IZOD IndyCar Series community for my behavior. My actions were totally wrong and I acted inappropriately to some people who are my friends and people I respect very much. Obviously, I am a very emotional person and today I let my emotions get the better of me and I'm very sorry for that."
A modified version appeared on the Penske Racing website, where Helio was quoted as saying, "Obviously, I disagree with the decisions made by the race officials on the last restart in today's race, but there is no excuse for my actions after the checkered flag." The same apology followed.
"It wasn't a difficult call to make," Barnhart told Lewandowski. "We have made it perfectly clear for well over a year, especially on road course racing, from the braking point to entry a driver is not to be on the inside half of the turn unless he's overtaking someone. If you're down there while under attack from someone else, you're blocking. We're supposed to enforce the rules as they're written and we clearly did. I feel bad for Helio, but we didn't create the situation. We just responded to it. As the rule is written now, it was a clear violation."