Until proven guilty, Castroneves has support of Penske Penske Racing continues to support Helio Castroneves in his federal tax evasion case and will wait at least a month to decide what path to take with its IndyCar Series driver lineup for next season, team owner Roger Penske said.
Castroneves and his sister, Kati, his former business manager, face six counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy in a case that centers on unpaid taxes on $5.5 million in income. Attorney Alan R. Miller has also been charged in the case.
Penske said the team wasn't planning to field its No. 3 car in this month's IndyCar Series race in Surfers Paradise, Australia, if a judge had not granted Castroneves permission to travel internationally. The terms of Castroneves' bail were adjusted Friday, allowing the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner to participate in the final race of the year, to be held Oct. 26.
"We weren't going to throw someone in the car that we hadn't tested," Penske said. "We had made an internal decision not to run it."
Castroneves, who finished second in this year's championship to Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, will partner with Ryan Briscoe, who drives the No. 6 car. No points will be paid in the race.
Penske is uncertain how to proceed for 2009 as it is unclear when Castroneves' legal situation will be resolved. Penske plans to wait until after the Australia race to formulate a plan, and he scoffed at the suggestion that replacement drivers have been considered.
"It's way too early for that," he said. "We don't even know when this thing might go to trial. It might not even be next year." Indy Star