IndyCar Drivers Newgarden, McLaughlin Disqualified 6 Weeks After St. Petersburg Race — Here’s Why

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(Penske Entertainment: Joe Skibinski)
(Penske Entertainment: Joe Skibinski)

IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Josef Newgarden and runner-up Scott McLaughlin have been disqualified due to a rules infraction six weeks after the March 10 race.

Third-place finisher Pato O’Ward inherits the win.

The cars of the Team Penske teammates were both found to have illegal push-to-pass software installed.

Push-to-pass gives the cars a 50 hp boost and each driver is allotted the same amount of seconds to use it at their discretion during street and road course events. It is deactivated during starts and restarts however, at least it is supposed to be.

Data collected at the race showed that Newgarden and McLaughlin were both able to use it during these periods, and did to their advantage, an investigation concluded.

According to a Team Penske statement, the cars had been updated with new software during testing of the hybrid power system that is scheduled to launch after this years Indy 500, but the correct program was never re-uploaded prior to St. Petersburg.

“The integrity of the INDYCAR SERIES championship is critical to everything we do,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “While the violation went undetected at St. Petersburg, INDYCAR discovered the manipulation during Sunday’s warmup in Long Beach and immediately addressed it ensuring all cars were compliant for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Beginning with this week’s race at Barber Motorsports Park, new technical inspection procedures will be in place to deter this violation.”

Newgarden and McLaughlin’s teammate Will Power also had the incorrect software in his car. He did not use it to his advantage during the race, but was issued a 10-point penalty.