NEWTON, Iowa – The Verizon IndyCar Series will review its policy regarding drive-thru penalties, INDYCAR President of Competition Derrick Walker told FOXSports.com Saturday evening, a few hours prior to the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway.
Walker, who dictates all competition policy for INDYCAR, believes the drive-thru penalty is often not appropriate for some infractions. That penalty has been called quite often this year with Team Penske driver Will Power getting five drive-thru penalties so far this season including last Sunday’s race at Pocono when he blocked teammate Helio Castroneves.
That infraction may still get a drive-thru, but Walker said there are other such actions that he doesn’t believe the drive through is “appropriate.”
“There are some instances where the drive-thru is too harsh a penalty for the infraction,” Walker told FOXSports.com. “For example, jumping the restart or the start. A drive-thru penalty can ruin a driver’s chances of contending for a victory and that is not what we are trying to do. A more appropriate penalty may be to have that driver give up three or four positions on the track rather than have him serve the drive-thru and either be at the end of the lead lap or a lap down.”
Officiating has often overshadowed some outstanding racing action on the track during the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season and Walker is the man in charge of coordinating with INDYCAR Race Control the implementation of such penalties.
“The drive-thru penalty will get a thorough review in the off-season and I would like to see it changed to a more appropriate penalty for some infractions,” Walker said.
“The good thing about a drive through penalty is it serves as quite a deterrent to not do that again,” argued IndyCar driver Will Power. “If you only penalize a driver three or four positions for jumping the start then I might take that gamble to gain an extra position if they don’t call it.”
On another topic, several team members told FOXSports.com that the current Dallara DW012 chassis is starting to show its age in its third season of competition and that has been a concern. Walker acknowledged that certain parts on the car are not lasting as long as with the previous model but chassis supplier Dallara was given a strict cost-containment budget to around $350,000. But Dallara has complete control over all replacement parts that prohibits IndyCar teams from making modifications to strengthen certain parts on the car that could potentially fail.
In last Sunday’s race at Pocono, Ryan Hunter-Reay, this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner had a bolt brake on his suspension early in the race and had to pit for repairs. He finished 19 laps down to race winner Juan Pablo Montoya in 18th place.
Bolts and fasteners generally don’t break on an IndyCar, and that has led to concern.
“We are monitoring all of that with Dallara and will work towards a remedy for such concerns,” Walker said.
The current Dallara race car has been outstanding on the race track creating a thrilling brand of racing that has produced some great races and finishes. But at least one IndyCar team member believes it could be more durable.
“In order to contain costs this car looks like it was made with Paper Mache and Styrofoam,” said the team member.
Be sure to catch Bruce Martin’s Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. ET.