INDIANAPOLIS (June 11, 2013)– Helio Castroneves’ #6 Team Penske entry was docked 15 entrant points and $35,000 today for vioating rules involving the underwing tunnel exits. This is a violation of Rule 126.96.36.199, which states
188.8.131.52 The exit of the underwing height is 7.600 inches with a tolerance of 0.050 inches and minus 0.00 inches.
This is actually a pretty serious rules violation. Experts I’ve spoken with say that by raising the underwing exit height, more downforce is generated, allowing the car to stick to the track better. By raising the underwing exit tunnel height, air generates more pressure coming out of the back of the car, increasing the effect of the underwing.
Think of an IndyCar body as an upside down airplane wing. Instead of being shaped to generate lift, it’s designed to create downforce. With a greater curve on the bottom of the car, air has to travel a further distance to be clear of the car. The more distance the air has to travel, the more downforce is generated. It’s demonstrated in the Physics principles of Bernoulli’s Principle, Kutta Condition and the Coanda effect. (You’re welcome, Doug.)
Team Penske’s #6 entry was fined $35,000 and docked 15 entrant points. driver Helio Castroneves was not disciplined. The action taken was similar to after last year’s race at TMS when Dale Coyne Racing as fined and docked entrant points for violations involving Justin Wilson’s #18 Boy Scouts/Sonny’s Barbecue Honda. Fined $7,000 and docked 5 entrant points, Wilson won the race and was discovered to have unapproved aero components on the car in post race inspection. Like Wilson in 2012, Castroneves was allowed to retain his winnings and first place finish.
Castroneves dominated the final 2/3rds of the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, winning the race in rather impressive fashion. In a race where drivers had issues with grip and tire degredation, Castroneves was able to make easy work of the field to capture his first victory of 2013 and wrestle away sole control of points.