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Team Penske suspends multiple officials for the Month of May

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Team Penske president Tim Cindric on the stand at Iowa Speedway in 2023. Credit: Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment
Credit: Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment

Following an internal review of the penalties assessed to Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, and Will Power after improper usage of the push-to-pass system during the opening race of the season at St. Petersburg in March, Team Penske has announced multi-race suspensions for four senior officials in a press release Tuesday morning.

Penske will be without team president Tim Cindric and IndyCar managing director Ron Ruzewski for this week’s Sonsio Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course and the Indianapolis 500 later this month. In a statement from the team, Cindric is being suspended because he has “accountability for all of Team Penske’s operations.” Cindric has been President at Penske since 2006 and has won 26 races as Newgarden’s strategist since 2017, including the 2023 Indianapolis 500.

Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet for Team Penske, celebrates after his win in St. Petersburg. Over a month later, he was found to have illegally used push-to-pass, resulting in his disqualification from the race. Credit: Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

The North Carolina-based team also suspended Newgarden’s race engineer Luke Mason, who has been on the No. 2 stand since 2023, and senior data engineer Robbie Atkinson. Atkinson has been part of the No. 12 crew with Will Power since 2010, winning two championships and the 2018 Indianapolis 500 on the way.

The suspensions come following an IndyCar investigation that found Team Penske to be illegally using the push-to-pass system on race starts and restarts, which is explicitly not allowed under series rules. The issue was revealed to series officials during the morning warmup before last month’s race at Long Beach. An investigation found that Newgarden, who crossed the finish line first at St. Pete, used push-to-pass three times illegally, and gained a significant competitive advantage. As a result, IndyCar disqualified Newgarden and McLaughlin, giving Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward the win over a month after the checkered flag flew. Power did not use push-to-pass at the same time as his teammates, and was subsequently only given a 10-point penalty.

“I recognize the magnitude of what occurred and the impact it continues to have on the sport to which I’ve dedicated so many decades. Everyone at Team Penske, along with our fans and business partners should know that I apologize for the errors that were made and I deeply regret them.”

– Roger Penske

Team Penske claims that the setting was first added for hybrid testing in August 2023 and copied over into the 2024 setup. Newgarden gave an emotional press conference on Friday morning at Barber, placing the blame on himself and defending the actions of his team to begin the season. As part of the series’ investigation, there were no similar violations found after hybrid testing last season.

Team owner and Penske Entertainment chairman Roger Penske met privately with team owners on Saturday at Barber and is believed to have apologized on behalf of his team to his fellow owners.

Newgarden currently sits at 16th in the standings, with McLaughlin in ninth, and Power just one point behind leader Colton Herta in second. Personnel replacements have yet to be announced for the next two races.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 9:00 AM

Tim Cindric has released a statement through Team Penske on X. He takes responsibility on behalf of himself and Ruzewski.

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Born and raised in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Gabe joined the TCF team in 2023 to cover the IndyCar Series. He currently studies Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University. You can follow him on Twitter @gabe_perrin.
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