LIVE BLOG: 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 29, 2014 6:00 am
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9:59 AM CT (Steph) – It’s been announced that Marco Andretti has been put on probation and fined $2,500 for not heeding to the blue flag yesterday. The team has also been fined $2,500. From IndyCar:

HOUSTON (Sunday, June 29, 2014) – INDYCAR announced today that it has issued penalties against Verizon IndyCar Series driver Marco Andretti and entrant Andretti Autosport for actions in Race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers on June 28.

INDYCAR has fined Andretti $2,500 and has placed him on probation for three races, beginning with Race 2 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on June 29, for violating Rule 7.2.5.2 (failure to heed the blue flag) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

INDYCAR has fined Andretti Autosport $2,500.

The members may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

We here at More Front Wing have varying opinions on the validity of this penalty, most of which we covered in our First Impressions column following yesterday’s race. You can find that column here.

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9:45 AM CT (Steph) – It has just been announced in the media center that Takuma Sato (who sustained a bruised right hand in race 1) and Mike Conway (who sustained a sprained left thumb) are both cleared to drive this morning.

It was partly cloudy and very warm with high humidity when I arrived this morning, so it seems like a good time to mention the alterations that IndyCar permitted as heat relief for the drivers this weekend. This information was in a press release from IndyCar on Friday:

With ambient temperature forecast to be in the high 80s, coupled with nearly equal humidity, for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, INDYCAR authorized a modification to provide additional cooling to the cockpit.

Verizon IndyCar Series teams are allowed to use templates provided by Dallara to trim an opening (1 by 4 inches) in the nose cap of the front wing assembly.

“Fortunately, it’s not supposed to be a bazillion degrees but the humidity is what makes it difficult,” said Sebastien Bourdais, whose No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car has the opening with a mesh screen. “Any air flow can only help.”

INDYCAR also approved the introduction of an optional water radiator from Mezzo Technologies for use at the Houston doubleheader and Auto Club Speedway race with high ambient and track temperatures.

A different style than a conventional radiator, the Mezzo product is composed of micro channel heat exchangers. INDYCAR expects an 8- to 10-degree drop in water temperature.

“The continued refinement of standing starts will be shown on Saturday and the allowed use of optional radiators for the first time will keep the engineers busy this weekend,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program manager. “The added challenge of racing in Houston during the mid-afternoon in late June will definitely test the thermal vigor of the engines, drivers and crews.”

Mezzo Technologies earned the 2010 Louis Schwitzer Award for Engineering Innovative Excellence.

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