IndyCar drops major Penske bombshell 45 days after the fact

Two disqualifications have been handed to Team Penske drivers from the IndyCar season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, IndyCar / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Penske Not-So-Perfect.

Six and a half weeks later, Arrow McLaren's Pato O'Ward is officially the winner of the 2024 IndyCar season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

It was discovered in morning warmup for this past Sunday afternoon's race on the streets of Long Beach, California that Team Penske had illegally manipulated the push-to-pass overtake system in the season opener so that their three cars could use the function on starts and restarts.

As a result, Josef Newgarden has been stripped of his 30th career win. Scott McLaughlin, who finished in third place, has also been disqualified. The disqualifications move Will Power up from fourth to second, but he has been docked 10 points (a net two-point loss).

The No. 2 Chevrolet, No. 3 Chevrolet, and No. 12 Chevrolet were all fined $25,000 and forced to forfeit all prize money from the season opener.

Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren (technically) end win drought

O'Ward's win is the fifth of his career and first since he won at Iowa Speedway in July 2022, ironically after Newgarden's car suffered a shock failure while he appeared to be coasting to victory. Arrow McLaren as an organization had not won since this event either.

Everybody who finished behind Newgarden and McLaughlin in St. Petersburg moved up in the finishing order and thus scored additional points. The associated points changes mean that Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon is the new points leader following his Long Beach win, two points ahead of Andretti Global's Colton Herta.

Herta has now officially started the season with back-to-back podium finishes, and his point totals from both events rank second in each, due to Power's penalty.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Palou, whose sixth place finish became a fourth, sits third in points with finishes of fourth and third to start the year. With O'Ward up to fourth in the standings, Power is Team Penske's highest placed driver in fifth.

Former points leader Newgarden now sits in 11th place in the championship standings, 45 points behind Dixon instead of 12 points ahead. He still kept the point he earned for taking the pole position in St. Petersburg. McLaughlin sits in 29th, last among all drivers who have competed in at least one race this year.

Full updated standings can be found here.

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The season's third race, the Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix, is set to be broadcast live on NBC from Barber Motorsports Park beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, April 28. If you have yet to start a free trial of FuboTV, do so now and don't miss it!