Penske suspends Cindric and 3 others in the wake of a cheating scandal ahead of the Indianapolis 500

Roger Penske
Josef Newgarden
Posted at 7:27 AM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 09:27:24-04

Roger Penske on Tuesday said he has suspended the president of Team Penske along with three others for two races for their roles in the cheating scandal that has rocked IndyCar ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

Tim Cindric, who oversees all of Team Penske’s operations and is the strategist for Indy 500 defending winner Josef Newgarden, is the top name to receive a two-race suspension. Also suspended was team managing director Ron Ruzewski, Newgarden engineer Luke Mason and senior data engineer Robbie Atkinson.

Ruzewski and Atkinson both work on Will Power's car — Ruzewski is his strategist — and Power is the only of the three Penske drivers not accused of any wrongdoing in the push-to-pass scandal.

The suspensions are for two races, which cover this weekend's event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indy 500, which Penske is trying to win for a record-extending 20th time.

“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," Penske said in a statement. "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.”

The team said an internal review was completed following IndyCar discovering that all three Penske cars had an illegal software system installed that allowed the drivers to use the push-to-pass function on starts and restarts. The system is controlled by IndyCar and disabled on starts and restarts, when the extra boost of horsepower is illegal.

IndyCar discovered it on the Penske cars in the morning warm-up at Long Beach when a glitch to the software knocked it out of all cars except the three Penske entries. IndyCar's investigation later showed that the software had been in place in the season-opening race and Newgarden used it to his advantage an admitted three times.

Scott McLaughlin said he used it once at St. Petersburg and Power never illegally used the software. IndyCar stripped Newgarden of the St. Pete win and McLaughlin of his third-place finish, while all three drivers were fined $25,000 and docked 10 points.

Penske owns the race team, IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and has been in damage control since series officials discovered the manipulation late last month. Cindric said the software was inadvertently left on the cars since last August when it was installed to test IndyCar's upcoming hybrid engine.

IndyCar has said it is working on its processes to determine how it wasn't found through inspection at the first three events to open the season.

Newgarden, meanwhile, maintains he thought there had been a rule change and the P2P system was now legal on restarts. McLaughlin said he hit the button out of habit and gained no advantage from the horsepower boost that lasted less than 2 seconds.


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