Following a careful look at TV tapes and discussion with participants, the Indy Racing League has penalized Chevy 500K winner Helio Castroneves for a premature start after the finale of four cautions this afternoon at Texas Motor...
Following a careful look at TV tapes and discussion with participants, the Indy Racing League has penalized Chevy 500K winner Helio Castroneves for a premature start after the finale of four cautions this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.
There were no protests filed following Castroneves' abrupt restart on a lap 198 two-lap shootout to the season ending race of the 16-event campaign, but Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations decided the Brazilian began his charge to the green flag prior to the dual cones in turn three that delineated the restart area.
Castroneves gets to keep his sole victory of the season and bookends the 2004 IndyCar Series season for Marlboro Team Penske and Toyota, who won only two races this year, the first (with Sam Hornish Jr.) and this final 300-mile, 200-lap contest over the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval.
The fine of $50,000 and 15 points allows the Brazilian to retain fourth- place points in the season-long chase, as he finished one point ahead of Mexican Adrian Fernandez, who only competed in 15 events, joining the League's premier series after the first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Despite his late start, Fernandez amassed three victories including two consecutive wins in the final three races of the season.
As a result of the penalties assessed this evening, Tony Kanaan's point total for his 2004 championship season is 618, based on his second place showing today. Teammate Dan Wheldon holds 533 points, followed by Buddy Rice (485), Castroneves (446) and Fernandez, who holds 445 fifth place points.
Despite failing to finish the Indy Racing League season finale, Dario Franchitti landed sixth in the standings with 409 points, Sam Hornish Jr., the 2001-2 titleholder is seventh with 387 points, followed by Vitor Meira, whose season did not begin until Twin Ring Motegi (376 points), Bryan Herta with 362 and 2003 IRL champion Scott Dixon, who rounds out the top ten with 355 points.
The tenth Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season begins, once again at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 6, 2005.