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Indy Lights team suspension confirmed

IndyCar has confirmed that Firestone Indy Lights team O2 Racing Technology will be excluded from the series until the end of 2012 after rejecting a protest from team owner Mark Olson.
IndyCar - the organising body of the Firestone Indy Lights Series as well as the senior IZOD IndyCar Series - has rejected a protest from O2 Racing Technology and its team owner Mark Olson against the penalty imposed on them for allegedly trying to organise a boycott of the series event at Milwaukee last month.

Olson was protesting the finding in the original ruling that "you encouraged team owners to boycott the [Milwaukee] event", with the team describing this finding as "simply false."

In a press release after the latest ruling, O2 Racing Technology said: "At the hearing, IndyCar admitted that it had conducted an investigation that failed to find a single person who claimed to have been encouraged to boycott the Milwaukee event by Olson.

"However, IndyCar maintained that the burden rested on Olson to prove a negative, i.e. that Olson did not encourage a boycott. Despite Olson's testimony to his innocence and personal team owner letters supporting Olson's position, IndyCar denied the appeal and ruled that there was insufficient evidence to reverse the penalty and suspension."

"I am very disappointed with the outcome of the protest," said Mark Olson. "I strongly disagree with the ruling. The penalty notice accusations are simply untrue. After yesterday's hearing, I'm more convinced than ever that IndyCar knew that the accusations are untrue.

"I don't understand why they won't just admit their mistake and attempt to undo the damage done not only to me personally, but also to the O2 Racing team and its sponsors and supporters."

The sponsors of the team had already pulled out prior to the original ruling, leading to the team announcing that it was withdrawing from all remaining races in 2011 as a result. That left its drivers, Mikael Grenier and Peter Dempsey, without a ride for the rest of the year.

However, Dempsey - from Ashbourne, County Meath in Ireland - was picked up for a one-off appearance with Andretti Autosport in the Indy Lights race in Toronto and duly came second in a team one-two alongside regular driver Stefan Wilson who claimed his maiden series win. Wilson is the younger brother of former F1 and current IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, and winner of the 2007 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for promising young British drivers.

It's not clear whether Dempsey will get a second outing with Andretti Autosport at the next Canadian event in Edmonton next weekend.

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MS-25 - Unregistered

July 16, 2011 7:18 PM

RacersEdge - the article says Dempsey's from Ireland. The part about "British drivers" refers to Stefan Wilson, Justin's brother, who is from Sheffield I think.


July 19, 2011 3:41 PM

Gee, real smart of IndyCar to suspend a competitive team for "crimes" unsubstantiated... and burden of proof on the team!!! ...guilty until proven innocent ...isn't that the French way ...I thought in the USA it's innocent until proven guilty ...and not one team owner willing to say he felt pressured to boycott... Now that's a raw deal...

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