Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing penalized for post-race infraction

IRL headlines:

1.      Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing penalized for post-race infraction

2.      Chevrolet To Provide Vehicles For Holmatro Safety Team; Safety Cars, Parade Vehicles for selected IZOD IndyCar Series events

3.      Tagliani looking forward to a 'normal return'

4.      Bourdais, Legge to share Dragon Racing entry for rest of 2012

5.      Firestone Indy Lights debut in Detroit puts all teams on even footing

1. Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing penalized for post-race infraction: INDYCAR announced today that it has penalized the No. 22 car of Panther/Dreyer and Reinbold Racing $10,000 and 5 entrant points for not complying with Rule 14.1.4 and 14.10.3 during post-race technical inspection at the Indianapolis 500.

14.1.4 All components approved by INDYCAR, Dallara or an approved supplier must be used as supplied unless otherwise stated in these Rules or in update bulletins.

14.10.3 Upright bearings and seals must be used as specified by Dallara.

2. Chevrolet To Provide Vehicles For Holmatro Safety Team; Safety Cars, Parade Vehicles for selected IZOD IndyCar Series events: When the Holmatro Safety Team reports for duty at the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix, it will have a decidedly different look.

INDYCAR's traveling track safety unit will debut three new Chevrolet trucks as part of a multi-year partnership that will see Chevrolet named as Official Truck of the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Holmatro Safety Team.

The three 2012 Silver Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cabs will debut at Detroit's Raceway at Belle Isle Park and will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment for the various safety and medical needs of the team.

"We are pleased that INDYCAR selected the most dependable, longest lasting pickup, the Chevrolet Silverado, as the Official Truck of the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Holmatro Safety Team," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "We take great pride in the durability and dependability of our vehicles, and we know the importance of those qualities in providing such an important function at INDYCAR events."

Chevrolet will provide a fleet of high-performance cars to serve as official Safety Car and Parade cars for the IZOD IndyCar Series events at Detroit, Texas, Iowa, Baltimore, and Fontana.

The Safety Cars are modified versions of the stock model of the vehicle, with an added safety roll cage, racing seats, light bar and high-performance brakes, wheels and tires for race track use among the modifications for Safety Car duty.

Parade cars, which are used as part of INDYCAR's Hot Lap program and used during the pace laps of each race, are closer to the stock model car with high-performance brakes, wheels and tires added for race track performance.

"Chevrolet and INDYCAR are a natural fit," said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR. "Chevrolet's engines have shown tremendous performance on the track, and adding Chevy vehicles to the Holmatro Safety Team as well as our pace car and parade car programs demonstrates that same performance is available in cars and trucks INDYCAR fans can drive home in."

3. Tagliani looking forward to a 'normal return': A hearty laugh crosses the phone line as Alex Tagliani recounts the circumstances surrounding his first IZOD IndyCar Series race.

To refresh the memory, it was 2008 at Belle Isle and Tagliani was called upon by Eric Bachelart to sub for the injured Enrique Bernoldi in the Conquest Racing entry. Tagliani, who had competed in Champ Car, was at the time driving in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Tagliani drove overnight to Detroit and immediately was indoctrinated in the paddock to prepare for the race weekend on the 2.07-mile, 14-turn street course.

"We tried to mold the seat but it was too late (in the day) to get it done, so I jumped into Bernoldi's seat," Tagliani said. "He was a bit bigger than me and I had to put some blankets on top of the seat to make it work.

"After a year, when you don't drive an Indy car, it's a wake-up call and Detroit is not an easy track. So my first drive in the car was 'Oh, what did I get myself into? After a couple of laps I was OK. They were my first laps in a Dallara IRL car. It was an interesting way to get back into the IndyCar world."

Tagliani started 21st in the 26-car lineup and was running fifth at one point before a gearbox issue relegated the Canadian driver to 22nd place.

"It was an opportunity not to miss," said Tagliani, who also competed at Chicagoland Speedway and the exhibition race at Surfers Paradise, Australia (fourth-place finish) that season. "When I jumped in the car and I was going around Turns 1 and 2, all the bumps were a lot rougher, the braking and the power were wake-up calls. I got back into the beat quickly but the first couple of laps they were very rough.

"I remember Detroit from that perspective. I'm looking forward to starting there in a normal fashion."

Tagliani enters the 90-lap race following a 12th-place finish in the 96th Indianapolis 500, in which he had a roller coaster 200 laps. He led the race in the No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA car, was sent to the rear of the field for a pit lane speed violation, and climbed way back despite having issues with the weight jacker (adjusting the car's balance from inside the cockpit) and an alarm on the steering wheel.

A malfunctioning system also prevented Tagliani from taking on fluids throughout the 3-hour event in track temperatures that reached 140 degrees.

"To get your lap back under green (following the pit lane penalty) showed that the car was strong," he said. "The race, with the new cars running so close, it was a tight competition. If you had a good car like we did, you could go for the win. But you need pretty much everything to be perfect. We missed on small little things."

On top of all that, it was the first race for the team this season using a Honda engine.

"It was a big test of dedication on the part of the crew and team," said Tagliani, who started from the pole in 2011 with Honda power. "The switch (from Lotus following the Long Beach event in mid-April) was an eye-opener. I thought we'd change engine and be good to go. It's a lot more; there were a lot of little things that needed to be done. I have a new appreciation for the team."

4. Bourdais, Legge to share Dragon Racing entry for rest of 2012: Dragon Racing will continue with Chevrolet power for the remainder of the 2012 season, and for the present, consolidate into one full-time entry with driving duties being shared by Katherine Legge and Sebastien Bourdais.

Dragon Racing's unchanged goal is to continue as a two car team throughout the 2012 season but after an early-season switch from Lotus to Chevrolet, Chevrolet has currently committed to provide one engine for the remainder of the 2012 season.

As a result, Bourdais and Legge will share the Dragon Racing entry, which shall display the No. 7 when Bourdais is driving and the No. 6 when Legge races the car.

Bourdais will be behind the wheel at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 3, while Legge will take over in Texas on June 9. Legge will again drive the No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing entry at Milwaukee on June 14, a track where she had one of her career best performances in Champ Car, including leading the race.

Thereafter, she will run at the Iowa, while Bourdais competes at Toronto and Edmonton, tracks at which he has scored multiple wins. The team will continue to work closely with Chevrolet to add the second engine where possible, but in the interim, will consolidate its efforts to create the strongest possible single entry for each race.

"I'd love to have two Chevrolets on track every weekend, but I remain extremely grateful to Chevy for stepping in at the last minute and providing us not only the two engines for Indy, but also committing to provide us full support for a single entry for the rest of the season which they were under no obligation to do" said Jay Penske, owner of Dragon Racing. "It has been a tough season thus far, and I've had to make some difficult choices but I've done so with the ultimate goal of winning races and doing what is best for the team and our partners. I think with the experience of our crew, our engineers, and drivers, and the tremendous support of our partners, this team is capable of winning races this year despite the setbacks we have encountered."

In addition to consolidating driving duties, this merger also includes Dragon Racing's sponsors and partners, each formidable leaders in their respective fields of expertise; McAfee in dedicated security technology, TRUECar in online automotive purchasing, WheelPros—the largest wheel company in the world, BING in global online search, and Chevy in automotive manufacturing and motorsports. Dragon Racing believes that the alignment of such strong and influential brands, combined with Legge and Bourdais each driving at tracks where their respective skill sets can be maximized will provide the platform for the drivers to continue to develop the car and work their way up the leaderboard and showcase the partner liveries that have been fan favorites throughout the season.

"We're very excited about our continued partnership with Dragon Racing and Chevrolet," said Scott Painter, founder and CEO of TrueCar. "Moreover the addition of such strong technology partners to the No. 6 and No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing entry, and the combination of Katherine, who is our leader of our TrueCar Racing effort and the first ever all women racing team, and Sebastien, one of the most successful open wheel racers and four-time champion--this is sure to be a winning combination."

"We are extremely pleased with the results at the Indianapolis 500" added Todd Gebhart, McAfee's Co-President. "We have been a proud partner and supporter of Dragon Racing since 2009, and are excited to see what can be achieved with Seb and Katherine at the wheel of the Chevy powered DW12 for the remainder of the season."

5. Firestone Indy Lights debut in Detroit puts all teams on even footing: There aren't too many venues on the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights schedule where the entire field is visiting a new circuit, but the Raceway at Belle Isle Park - site of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix -  is one of them.

"Going to a new track is always a unique experience," Younessi Racing driver Peter Dempsey said. "I am not a big track walking person, but with new tracks I always tend to do at least two track walks. You really learn a lot more in your first two laps of driving the car."

The 2.07-mile course is set in Belle Isle Park -- the largest island park in the United States-- and features 14 diverse turns known for their bumps and changes in surface.

The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to the circuit for the first time since 2008. Firestone Indy Lights has never raced at the venue while under INDYCAR sanction.

"Watching some of the old Belle Isle race videos, the track doesn't seem as tight as some of the other street courses," Dempsey said. "I am very excited heading into Detroit, new tracks always level out the competition, and being with a new team at Younessi Racing, that's exactly what we need."

Coming out of Indianapolis, the series has a new points leader. Esteban Guerrieri of Sam Schmidt Motorsports jumped from third to first in the championship hunt after a come-from-behind win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Freedom 100. The Argentinian started in 18th position and worked his way up the field, completing a daring pass for the lead before an incident behind him caused the race to finish under yellow.

Close behind him is teammate Tristan Vautier, last season's Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear champion and winner of the Firestone Indy Lights season debut in St. Petersburg. Sebastian Saavedra, who missed a podium finish for the first time this season in Indianapolis, is third in the standings.

***

The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 3 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit. The race will be televised by ABC at 3:30 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix  on June 2 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. (ET) on June 7 and broadcast live by the IMS Radio Network.


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