INDYCAR officials have announced a six-position starting grid penalty for the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport entry for avoidable contact involving driver Devlin DeFrancesco during the Sunday, March 20 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
DeFrancesco was in violation of:
Rule 9.3.3. Avoidable Contact – The primary responsibility for avoiding contact with a Competitor resides with the overtaking Competitor and the secondary responsibility resides with the Competitor(s) being overtaken. A Competitor who fails to demonstrate their responsibility and initiates a maneuver that results in contact with another Competitor may be penalized. According to the rulebook, a penalty can be applied at the next INDYCAR race if the penalty cannot be served at the event where the infraction took place. The series’ next 2022 event is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 10 on the Streets of Long Beach.
DeFrancesco was in the mix in a pair of incidents that day. He was driving a little over his head in pushing Takuma Sato into the traction compound and causing his No. 51 Honda to get into the wall as a result. Then, on Lap 129, he made a not so wise three-wide move entering Turn 3 on the Lap 129 restart sparking a three car crash.
INDYCAR has taken action.
I wrote that day though, would it benefit INDYCAR to get Indy Lights back on the IMS oval. One of the factors into a lighter crowd in Texas was that there was no Road to Indy activity. Granted, you can’t run USF2000 or Indy Pro 2000 on a superspeedway. However, Indy Lights you certainly can and as we saw that day that maybe Roger Penske needs to revisit not having them run on superspeedway’s anymore.
They didn’t run the Freedom 100 in 2020 due to the pandemic. The race wasn’t brought back since. That could be causing some issues with the young drivers at tracks like Texas because they have no superspeedway experience prior.
Would some superspeedway experience help this? I don’t think it would hurt. Texas, if they come back, could benefit from another race and the fans have been begging for the Freedom 100 to return as well.