Justin Wilson and Dale Coyne Racing are still the winners of last Saturday’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, but the Illinois-based team was fined $7,500 and docked five entrant points for Wilson’s No. 18 squad today by INDYCAR.
Wilson’s No. 18 car ran afoul of INDYCAR’s rule to disallow sidepod top decks for the Texas race. INDYCAR also forbid teams from using rear wheel infills and both strakes and sidewalls on the underwing.
Marshall Pruett of SPEEDTV.com has more info about the offending top deck pieces, which he writes as being able to “reduce a few pounds of drag,” but having no impact on Wilson’s victory.
INDYCAR also hit Ed Carpenter Racing today for a $5,000 fine and the loss of one entrant point on Carpenter’s No. 20 group.
This particular violation had Carpenter using a rear wing wicker that was taller than the 1/8-inch maximum height. The wicker was put into play prior to Friday night’s final practice session after some drivers complained about the lack of downforce afforded to their cars with the aerodynamic package in place.
Both teams can appeal the rulings.
Texas Motor Speedway president/general manager Eddie Gossage wants an answer in the next two weeks from INDYCAR on whether they’ll come back to his facility in 2013.
The brash promoter also told ESPN.com’s Terry Blount that he has backup plans for his track in case INDYCAR bows out — one for a NASCAR Nationwide/Truck Series combo in June and another for two NASCAR triple-header weekends in April and November with Sprint Cup as the headliner for each.
Gossage has been upset with INDYCAR over a variety of issues, including recent apprehension from some of the drivers about racing at TMS, sanctioning fees, and the revival of the Grand Prix of Houston next season (which Gossage feels will take away some of his track’s business).
INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard also revealed last weekend that the Circuit of the Americas in Austin has shown interest in a 2013 event as well, adding another layer to the saga.
Something to point out: Even though Saturday night’s event — which featured plenty of passing but eliminated pack racing by reducing downforce on the cars — has been considered a success, Gossage still sounded annoyed if this comment to Blount is any indication:
“It amazed me how drivers said we finally had a good and safe race here. We’ve always had that. And I’m not going to have happen what happened last year with all the negative talk. All that carrying on isn’t right.”
Looks like both Gossage and Bernard will have to mend some fences if TMS is to stay on the INDYCAR landscape.
Could IndyCar Series title sponsor IZOD be heading for the exits?
According to an article in the Sports Business Journal, a change in management at IZOD’s parent company, Phillips-Van Heusen, has them rethinking their sponsorship contract with INDYCAR, which runs until at least 2015. As a result, the series is now shopping a seven-figure deal for a potential presenting sponsor (think “IZOD IndyCar Series presented by X”) that would become the title sponsor later on.
The article says that two key series partners, Verizon and Firestone, have had the deal pitched to them, as well as another company outside the series.
IZOD is currently the third title sponsor in INDYCAR/IRL history, with auto care company Pep Boys and defunct search engine Northern Light previously handling that duty.
The grind continues on for the next two weekends, as the IndyCars visit the venerable Milwaukee Mile this Saturday (1 pm ET, ABC) and the bullring of Iowa Speedway on June 23. To prep for the Iowa event, which will feature three heat races to determine the starting grid, a group of 11 IZOD IndyCar Series teams will test there tomorrow and on Wednesday.
The public is invited to attend the test and watch it from seating on the backstretch. According to Iowa’s own Pressdog.com, the track will be open for testing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.