((HT: Sportsnet Radio/FAN590 Toronto))
IndyCar has suspended the membership of O2 Racing Technology and the individual membership of team owner Mark Olson until December 31, 2012, for actions during The Milwaukee Mile event June 18-19.
The O2 team runs in the IndyLights series with Peter Dempsey and Mikael Grenier behind the wheel.
This was the release O2 put out before the Milwaukee race from their website:
Due to recently discovered integrity issues (outside of our control) with the 2011 Indy Lights series championship, O2 Racing Technology’s sponsors and investors have decided to temporarily take a step back and to reconsider their participation. Unfortunately, this also impacts the teams’ ability to participate.
After a series of discussions with the other team owners, drivers, and INDYCAR, we have been generally assured that INDYCAR is aware of the issues with the tech inspection reporting and penalty procedures and will be addressing them at some point in the future.
We’re heartbroken over the knock-on affects that this situation has on our team members’ families and on the careers of our drivers, but we’re hopeful that confidence will be restored in the integrity of the Indy Lights championship in a timely manner and that our partners will be encouraged to resume their participation.
From IndyCar their own selves:
Olson was suspended for attempting to impede the conduct of the event by encouraging others to breach contracts with INDYCAR and withdraw from the David Hobbs 100. O2 Racing Technology was the only entrant to withdraw, removing its No. 36 and 63 entries from the participant list.
The actions were in violation of multiple rules as listed in the Firestone Indy Lights rulebook:
• Rule 1.1: Actions threatening the integrity of INDYCAR, Firestone Indy Lights and/or orderly conduct of an event.
• Rule 2.11 (C): Conduct creating adverse notoriety with respect to INDYCAR, Firestone Indy Lights or an event.
• Rule 9.3 (A): Attempting to or engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct or conduct detrimental to racing, INDYCAR and/or Firestone Indy Lights.
• Section 14 of the Event Entry Form: Engaging in tactics which would disrupt or delay the events.
“The mere act of attempting to impede the conduct of the event is something we will not tolerate,” said Roger Bailey, executive director, Firestone Indy Lights. “We believe we have a great championship with Firestone Indy Lights that will help develop drivers and teams to prepare to move to the top level of open-wheel racing in North America, and we must maintain the integrity of our series.”
So, basically, it looks like O2 was trying to get other teams to bail on the IndyLights series event and couldn't get anyone to come with...
And now, they're done...
Ironically, here's some video of Grenier running laps at Milwaukee before the even that they didn't even run in after all...
1630 UPDATE: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard was on "Prime Time Sports" with Bob McCown on the FAN590 this afternoon. When BobCat asked Bernard about what went down with O2, he admitted that O2 thought they had not failed inspection and tried to encourage others to walk.
"One bad apple makes bad apple cider," Bernard said. "We want people to fix problems, not create them. We brought in our chief steward and the team owner actually showed what he did to the other team owners and tried to used a rule to his benefit."
There is an appeal process, and Bernard wants to see how Olsen's attitude is at the time at the end of the suspension. IndyCar can also choose not to even renew O2's option at the end of the 2012 calendar year.