HOUSTON -- INDYCAR announced that after an internal review it has withdrawn penalties issued against Sebastien Bourdais following the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7.
Bourdais had been penalized for violation of Rule 9.3.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook during an incident with Justin Wilson on Lap 121 of the event. He was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the 2014 season. Both the fine and probation have been rescinded.
Bourdais, who will drive the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car this weekend in the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, is a two-time Indy car race winner at NRG Park. In both 2006 and '07, after winning the spring races, he went on to earn the Champ Car championship.
He finished eighth and fifth (advancing a total of 14 positions relative to his starting spots) in the October 2013 races on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit with Dragon Racing.
"We had a fast car for the first two street races at St. Petersburg and Long Beach. At Detroit, we struggled, but learned a few things," Bourdais said. "Hopefully, the car will be more like the Long Beach car and we challenge for the pole and a podium finish. The key for KVSH Racing is to keep working hard and start putting up consistently good results.”
Bourdais qualified a season-high third at Long Beach (finished 14th) and has a high finish of fourth in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10.
Eberle giving back to alma mater
Houston-area resident Bobby Eberle, competing in a World Speed Motorsports entry in the twin Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires races at NRG Park, has established a program to educate students from his alma mater, Texas A&M University, about race engineering.
Five engineering students will be embedded with the race team this weekend.
"There's nothing like real-world experience to complement the fantastic job that Texas A&M does in educating future engineers," said Eberle, who has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. "The students get to participate in team meetings, get briefings from the chief engineer, and also get feedback from me. I'm so happy to be doing something that helps the students and gives back to Texas A&M.”
Race 1 at Houston will mark Juan Pablo Montoya’s 50th career Indy car start. His first start came in 1999 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has 11 wins. … Verizon IndyCar Series team owner Chip Ganassi and Ryan Briscoe, driver of the No. 8 NTT DATA car, were among the speakers this week at the NTT DATA North America Senior Leaders Meeting in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The company is based in Plano, Texas. … Strike, a leading single-source energy services provider based in the Houston area, returns as the primary sponsor of the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing entry driven by Josef Newgarden. ... Felipe Donato, 19, of Brazil, will make his Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires debut this weekend at Houston in the No. 9 entry for Dallas-based M1 Racing. He made 10 USF2000 starts in 2013.