More than a year since the series started disclosing technical infractions and penalties, IndyCar drivers and teams still are working to understand the process and the punishment.
While the news of teams that break rules or fail inspection is made available, it's not detailed. Team officials say they still aren't certain which punishment to expect for specific violations.
Derrick Walker, the new president of operations and competition for INDYCAR, wants to make infractions and their subsequent penalties more transparent.
After Team Penske was fined $35,000 for a post-race technical violation on Helio Castroneves' winning car at Texas Motor Speedway, Penske Racing president Tim Cindric did something unusual. Cindric put the car in a wind tunnel, violation and all, tested its performance compared to normal performance, and publicized his findings.
The violation hadn't given the car an advantage, he argued. Instead, the violation hurt the car's performance.
In response, Walker did something unusual. He gave Cindric's response his blessing.
"I thought it was appropriate," Walker told USA TODAY Sports. "People always want to know more than we publish, and we don't like to discuss those details in public. We publish the penalty and the punishment, but we don't explain it. We're there to measure the cars and check them and manage the competition. We need to do a better job of explaining how we do that. It's no good catching someone if you can't define it and explain it."
The wiggle room with punishment lies with the many possible variations of infractions, especially in post-race technical inspection. While on-track violations — blocking, speeding on pit road, running over an air hose — have defined consequences, technical violations are far more complicated.
Since taking the position May 27, Walker's goal has been to make penalties for the myriad infractions — both on-track and off-track — clear.
Cindric, who called the violation "an honest mistake," said he publicized the findings partly to defend Team Penske, but also to inform other teams of the nature of the violation.
"One thing IndyCar needs to be sure of when they have an infraction is that they let other teams know exactly what it was and what it looks like," Cindric told USA TODAY Sports. "There needs to be complete transparency to the other teams. … It's Derrick's goal to be more predictable and consistent." More at USA Today