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via Imago

via Imago

Bending the rules in motorsports is nothing new. However, there are times when teams and drivers push the boundaries a little too much, resulting in penalties and serious backlash from the community. A similar story has unfolded for Roger Penske and his racing ventures in NASCAR and Indy Car, as his team has been found guilty of resorting to the use of illegal tactics.

During the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying races at Daytona and Las Vegas, Joey Logano and his team blatantly used the webbed gloves to gain an unfair advantage. And well, these tactics did help him get a pole win along with front-row starts. However, NASCAR officials did come heavy on the Penske star and took away his pole win for the Atlanta race, with an added drive-through penalty.

However, despite the run-ins with the use of illegal racing tactics, Team Penske hasn’t learned their lesson as they once again found themselves in the middle of a big controversy for flouting the rules during an Indy Car race event.

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Roger Penske suspends his team members ahead of the Indy 500

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Call it push-to-pass or the DRS button, Team Penske drivers Joseph Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin were both found guilty of manipulating the system. This incident happened during the season opener in Long Beach, California. Given how the Penske team likes to get the details right, it was a big surprise to see them resort to such means.

As a result, Newgarden was stripped of his win, and McLaughlin had to give up his third-place finish. But that was not it- given that Roger Penske owns the Indy Car Series, there were demands for more severe punishments. They came in the form of the suspension of multiple team members, including Team Penske President, Tim Cindric, for two races.

The 87-year-old himself penned an apology note via the team’s official X account. “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.”

However, the racing community did not appreciate the gesture after the use of blatant cheating tactics. Many even asked the veteran team owner to step down from his ownership of the Series and shut down his open-wheel racing operation.

Fans react to the apology statement by Roger Penske

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Apart from Tim Cindric, the managing director, Ron Ruzewski also took the fall and was suspended for two races. However, the fans questioned the credibility and intention of the entire racing organization and came down heavily on the team and Series owner, Roger Penske.

One fan expressed his distrust in the Series after the revelation of the scandal. “Sell the teams or sell the series Roger. You cannot have both and be trusted!!!”

Both Cindric and Ruzewski refrained from commenting on the whole saga in the media, while Chevrolet came clean on their investigation. Knowing that the team drivers resorted to illegal use of the push-to-pass button. Questioning the ruling and suspension of the members at the management level, a user further speculated on foul play and misuse of power by Penske.

“Raises more questions than it answers. Basically confirms Cindric & Ruzewski lied to the media and still fails to address Mark Reuss & Chevy’s role. If your management is dirty why would you continue to employ them?”

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Another fan was in disbelief to see the drivers get away, while other members faced suspension. “Meanwhile the guys who literally pushed the button aren’t suspended. Almost like Roger didn’t fancy having them miss the 500…”

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Some even linked Team Penske to Formula 1 giants, Red Bull, and how they hold the reputation of bending the rules. “Admitting they cheated only because they got caught. Penske is the Red Bull of Indycar”.

It can be said that the drivers were indeed lucky as they race for the owner of the Series. Who knows what would have been the outcome had the other teams found themselves in a similar predicament?