Roger Penske has welcomed IndyCar’s president of competition Jay Frye, saying he understands how to avoid incurring unnecessary costs in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Frye became the series’ president of competition and operations last November, following Derrick Walker’s resignation in August.
Penske said: “We feel good about Jay Frye. He was a team owner, so he’s been through the trials and tribulations of drivers, mechanics, changing rules and so on. He has an understanding of a level playing field and not changing things overnight. That’s a positive.
“One of the things we worry about – and this happens in NASCAR too – is when they change the rules and it costs us but we don’t go any faster. It just costs us.
“So if we can stay on the right track and there’s good communication, that will be helpful for all of us.”
Asked to expand upon the extra costs he cited, Penske said: “Do we need to have a point of differentiation in aero kits? It keeps changing the game and more money is being spent and that doesn’t help us at all.
“But I think Jay certainly knows the sport. He’s already been to our shop to talk to our guys on the engineering side and quickly learn the things he doesn’t know.”
Penske said he is also pleased with the changes in IndyCar Race Control that Frye put in place in February.
Ex-Ford Racing boss Dan Davis is now chief steward, ex-Indy car racers Arie Luyendyk and Max Papis are stewards, while Brian Barnhart is race director, who can call for incidents to be reviewed by the stewards but is not part of the decision-making process regarding making calls.
“The revised stewarding system, with Dan Davis and the two stewards – that’s a big positive,” said Penske. “They’ve taken out 24 or 25 of the penalties in the rulebook, too. There are warnings they no longer have.
“So now you’re more clearly in the black or red – not in the middle. That’s great.”
Bill Pappas, who in late February became IndyCar’s vp of competition and engineering, also earned Penske’s endorsement.
The legendary team owner said: “I don’t know Pappas that well but we’ll see how well he integrates with us.
“He’s been around the sport a long time but he’s also current, which I think is key. And he’s addressing safety too.”