Roger Penske driver Helio Castroneves had better keep it clean this weekend
Helio Castroneves will be on double-secret probation this weekend, when the IZOD IndyCar Series travels to his native Brazil for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.
Castroneves’ No. 3 Dallara/Honda was involved in two separate incidents within five laps of each other during the series’ most recent event, the 37th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17. The first incident involved the No. 22 car driven by Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
The other occurred on a Lap 66 restart in which Castroneves had difficulty braking entering Turn 1 and created a logjam by impeding the progress of Team Penske teammate Will Power and Oriol Servia. Scott Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry also sustained rear suspension damage when it ran over Castroneves’ front wing.
“As far as the restart, I’m really not sure what to say,” said Castroneves, who finished 12th and fell to 12th in the point standings after three events. “I feel terrible for Will. I wasn’t even trying to pass, but we just made contact. Will is my teammate, and of course, you just can’t take each other out. It’s just very unfortunate and I have to say I’m sorry to the team.”
Upon review, Castroneves did not receive a penalty for either incident. “Certainly, that was not something I intended,” said Castroneves, who started and finished ninth in the inaugural Streets of Sao Paulo event in March 2010. “I wish I could go back in time and not be so stupid like that, make a mistake so horrendous.”
That said, INDYCAR officials will be monitoring Castroneves during his “home” race Sunday on another temporary street circuit. The 75-lapper over a 2.6-mile layout will be televised live at noon (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network.
“(Castroneves) has our attention because he has made poor choices in two of the three events,” said Al Unser Jr., Firestone Indy Lights driver coach and one of four officials monitoring on-track activity in Race Control. Sixteen camera angles plus in-car camera video are monitored by Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations ; Tony Cotman, Firestone Indy Lights chief steward; Bill van de Sandt, INDYCAR director of operations and Star Mazda chief steward and former driver Unser . Racin Today
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