Race Weekend Central

Team Penske Suspends Multiple Crew Members from Josef Newgarden’s No. 2 Team

Team Penske announced on Tuesday (May 7) that multiple suspensions were issued for crew members on defending Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden‘s team heading into the Month of May.

INDYCAR had announced in April that the team had illegally overridden the push-to-pass system at the opening round of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which Newgarden won before eventually being disqualified. The team then conducted their own review to implement corrective action outside of the sanctioning bodies penalties.

“Following the penalties to the Team Penske INDYCAR team and drivers after Long Beach, Team Penske has completed an internal review,” the team said in a statement. “After a full and comprehensive analysis of the information, Team Penske has determined that there were significant failures in our processes and internal communications. 

“As a result, Luke Mason (No. 2 Race Engineer) and Robbie Atkinson (Senior Data Engineer) will be suspended from Team Penske for the next two INDYCAR races including the Indianapolis 500. In addition, Ron Ruzewski (Managing Director, Team Penske INDYCAR) will also be suspended for these two races, along with Tim Cindric (President of Team Penske), who has accountability for all of Team Penske’s operations.”

Besides the Indy 500, the crew members will miss the upcoming Sonsio Grand Prix on Saturday (May 11). 

Tim Cindric, who is president of Team Penske’s racing operations which include NASCAR, IMSA and IndyCar, has been a lead race strategist for all of Newgarden’s championships as well as his Indy 500 win last year. 

“For Ron and I as leaders of this team, it’s not about what we did, it’s about what we didn’t do,” Cindric said. “It is our responsibility to provide for the Team and all our drivers with the right processes to ensure something like this can’t happen.

“For that, I apologize to Roger, our Team and everyone that supports us. In that regard, as the overall leader, I failed, and I must raise my hand and be accountable with the others. This is a team, and in my position, it’s the right thing to do.”

See also
The Pit Straight: Lando Norris Has Arrived, Now What?

Since INDYCAR announced the disqualification penalties on April 24 that stripped the St. Pete win from Newgarden, a third place from Scott McLaughlin and points from all three cars, there has been intense scrutiny and doubt on how the team handled the news. Multiple owners and drivers at the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix voiced disbelief that something like this could happen in a team the caliber of Team Penske.

Owner Roger Penske also held an owners-only meeting in his motorhome during the weekend to express his embarrassment over the situation. Now, he has approved the suspensions of key race personnel on his car that won him his 19th Indianapolis 500 as they look to defend that victory.

“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. “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.”

About the author

Tom is an IndyCar writer at Frontstretch, joining in March 2023. He also works full-time for the Department of Veterans Affairs History Office and is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. A native Hoosier, he's followed IndyCar closely since 1991 and calls Fort Wayne home. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBlackburn42.

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Charlie

This shows Penske is an owner with integrity and has class no other owner can exhibit. Gibbs, Hendrick, and others in both genre can learn from him. Win with integrity.
And before the keyboard crunchers erupt from the basements, he also didn’t buy a pardon from Bill Clinton as another owner did.

Ted

They have been caught cheating in Nascar as well. Plus, he also had Rusty Wallace & Jeremy Mayfield to drive his cars at one point. 😬🤷🏼‍♂️

Jim

?????

Jeremy

I think everybody has been caught cheating in NASCAR! lol

Ted

I wonder why the drivers weren’t suspended as well?

Jim

A very valid question!

Tim

If so, this would start a new trend.
When was the last time that Jimmie Johnson was suspended for something illegal that Chad got caught doing?

Last edited 17 days ago by Tim
Ted

On your same logic,… the drivers were docked points?,.. and not just the owners. 🤔🤷🏼‍♂️

Jeremy

I’m assuming Atkinson and Ruzewski, like Cindric, are in positions that all 3 teams roll up under their leadership. However, I am curious why only the #2 Team Race Engineer is suspended and not also the #3 Team Race Engineer (or is No 2 referring to him being a 2nd Engineer under Atkinson and not necessarily assigned specifically to the #2 team)?

Drew

I can’t believe that just happened and it’s unacceptable that these four members of team Penske have been caught cheating and I will not tolerate that at all.

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