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INDIANAPOLIS — Josef Newgarden described his conversation with Roger Penske regarding the scandal that has enveloped his team more as an “interrogation”.

Newgarden was stripped of his win and his other teammates were penalized after it was discovered that Team Penske had “manipulated” the overtake system, known as push-to-pass, on their cars for the season opener at St. Petersburg.

Penske, who also owns the NTT IndyCar Series, has taken things a step further within his racing team. It was announced on Tuesday that Penske has suspended Team President Tim Cindric, race engineers Luke Mason and Robbie Atkinson, as well as Team Penske managing director Ron Ruzewski.

“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,” Roger 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.”

The suspension include the Sonsio Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500.

Team Penske was discovered to have left code within software meant for the new hybrid engines currently in development on all three of their cars for the race at St. Pete. This code allowed the team to circumvent IndyCar’s regulation of the push-to-pass system during the race, allowing their drivers to use the P2P whenever they wanted.

It is against IndyCar regulations to use P2P during starts and restarts.

Josef Newgarden and Scott McClaughlin were disqualified for using P2P on restarts. Will Power was not disqualified but docked ten drivers championship points. Power did not use P2P on restarts, but data shows that it was made available to him.

In a news conference before IndyCar’s race at Barber in late April, Newgarden said it was an honest mistake that the whole thing happened.

He said he mistook the rule for P2P on restarts. The rule was temporarily changed for the All-Star race at Thermal, but Newgarden said he believed the rule change was for the whole season.

“We genuinely believed and convinced ourselves that at St. Pete, the rule was now you can use it immediately on restarts, you don’t have to wait till the alt start/finish line,” Newgarden said. Even when you learn about the software issue that no one knew about, and it was fixed, I still believed the procedural difference on restarts was applied for Long Beach.”

Because of the oversight of the code in the software and the rules, Penske is holding his team accountable.

Luke Mason is the race engineer for Newgarden. Atkinson is the race engineer for Scott McLaughlin. Both, and their respective staff, are responsible for making sure the cars are prepared properly for each race.

Mason and Atkinson are suspended for the next two races, which include the Sonsio Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Cindric and Ruzewski are also on the bench for both races.

“For Ron and I as leaders of this team, it’s not about what we did, it’s about what we didn’t do,” said Cindric in a statement. “It is our responsibility to provide the Team and all our drivers with the right processes to ensure something like this can’t happen. For that, I apologize to Roger, our Team and everyone that supports us. Our number one job is to protect and enhance the reputation of our brand and that of those that support us. In that regard, as the overall leader, I failed, and I must raise my hand and be accountable with the others. This is a team, and in my position, it’s the right thing to do.”

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