Team Penske suspends four crew members for Indianapolis 500 in wake of push to pass scandal

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 29: NTT IndyCar series driver Josef Newgarden poses for a photo with car owner Roger Penske and team president Tim Cindric on May 29, 2023, after winning the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tim Cindric (middle) is one of four Team Penske crew members suspended for the Indianapolis 500. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Team Penske will be without a few key members of its team for the Indianapolis 500.

Team owner Roger Penske announced Tuesday that Team Penske President Tim Cindric and two others would be suspended for Saturday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix and the 500 on May 26 in the wake of an investigation into a push to pass scandal that has been the IndyCar Series' biggest story so far this season.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin were disqualified from the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after it was discovered their engines had software that allowed them to use the P2P feature on starts and restarts. The extra boost is disabled per IndyCar rules immediately after starts and restarts.

Team Penske’s Will Power was docked 10 points but not disqualified after his car had the software too. However, it was determined that Power didn’t use the feature while the other two drivers did.

The team has said that the engines were erroneously configured after a test session and not reverted back to race standard. The Penske issue was discovered at the second race weekend of the season in Long Beach when race control saw that the three cars had P2P when the feature wasn’t enabled during a pre-race warmup session. Since the issue was first discovered at Long Beach, the St. Petersburg disqualifications came weeks after the race ended.

McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was declared the race winner after he finished second between Newgarden and McLaughlin.

“After a full and comprehensive analysis of the information, Team Penske has determined that there were significant failures in our process and internal communications,” the team said in a statement.

Penske’s role in IndyCar has made this more than a run-of-the-mill rule-breaking. Penske is also the owner of the IndyCar Series after he purchased Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series in 2019. Newgarden is the defending champion of the Indianapolis 500, and Team Penske has long been one of the top teams in the IndyCar Series.

“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.”

In addition to Cindric, Newgarden team engineer Luke Mason, Team Penske engineer Robbie Atkinson and Team Penske managing director Ron Ruzewski are also suspended for the next two races.