INDYCAR officials have announced a six-position starting grid penalty for the No. 2 Team Penske entry for an unapproved engine change following Sunday’s race on the streets of Nashville.
The team was in violation of:
Rule 18.104.22.168 A fifth (5th) Engine is eligible to earn Engine Manufacturer points if a Full Season Entrant has completed the Full Season Entrant Engine Mileage with its first four (4) Engines. Otherwise, a fifth (5th) or more Engine does not earn Engine Manufacturer points and will be considered an Unapproved Engine change-out.
According to the rulebook, the penalty for such a change comes at the series’ next event, which is the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 14 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Unfortunately for Newgarden, he was only seventh fastest in his group in the opening round which slated him 14th in the qualifying lineup. But, due to the six spot grid penalty, he now falls to 20th at the start of Saturday’s race.
“I’m just frustrated because I thought I had enough gap on Hinch,” said Newgarden, who won the fall race on the IMS road course last year. “He was just too slow. He was too slow. I caught him literally going into Turn 7. It’s probably all me. I probably should have gapped him a little bit more, but I had pressure from behind me going out and you’re just trying to work the gap. So, I lost probably three-four tenths just in the final sector of the track.
“Sucks, man. I don’t know what to say other than that. We got a good car. Pretty pissed. I hate that we just caught him; he was just too slow. It’s on me. I’m just frustrated. I’m frustrated because we should have had a bigger gap on him so we didn’t catch him too quick. I can’t back off on my third lap, because I’m going into my third lap and the money lap is the second lap when you are trying to complete it, but I caught him too close.”