INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Helio Castroneves was fined $60,000 and put on probation for the rest of the season after making contact with race officials following the July 25 race at Edmonton.
IndyCar officials met the three-time Indy 500 winner on Monday to discuss his actions and issue the penalties.
Castroneves was black-flagged for blocking Penske Racing teammate Will Power on the final restart. Castroneves crossed the finish line first, but Scott Dixon was awarded the win after the penalty was enforced, dropping Castroneves to 10th.
An irate Castroneves was penalized for refusing to follow the direction of officials and unsportsmanlike conduct when he engaged in physical contact with two officials on pit lane after the conclusion of the race.
Castroneves was leading the race at Edmonton when he was issued the black flag on the 93rd lap following a restart, then failed to take the drive through pit lane penalty.
“I fully support the decisions of chief steward Brian Barnhart and Race Control,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement. “The drivers have been aware of the blocking rule for quite some time. Brian reminded the drivers of the blocking rule in the Edmonton pre-race drivers’ meeting, which serves as the first warning, and the rule was executed during the race just as it dictates.”
“We felt suspension would hurt the fans more than anyone else,” Bernard said. “Fans have paid their hard-earned money to watch the best drivers in the world and many bought their tickets for upcoming events with the expectation of watching Helio. He is a great ambassador for this sport and we know his actions after the race in Edmonton are not indicative of his normal behavior.”
“Once again, I regret what occurred following the IZOD IndyCar Series race in Edmonton and I apologize for my behavior as I let my emotions get the better of me,” he said in a statement released by Penske Racing. “Although my disappointment with being black-flagged while leading the race with just a few laps to go will probably always remain with me, I understand and accept the league’s decision to penalize me for my reaction.
“I am ready to move forward and I’m hoping to add to Team Penske’s success at Mid-Ohio this weekend.”