Indy 500 2012: Fining 13 Teams Was Necessary Step for Floundering League

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMay 21, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19:  Dario Franchitti the driver of the #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car poses with the car following his qualifying run for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 19, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

On Sunday, the struggling Indy Racing League doled out 18 fines to 13 different teams that totaled $275,000, and it was something that had to be done. 

The Associated Press reported that track historian Donald Davidson said that "all of the numbers were believed to be a one-day record even though the series has not always announced infractions or fines."

All three of the cars that qualified for the front row were fined. The Associated Press went onto report that "11 teams including Briscoe, Hunter-Reay and points leader Will Power received $15,000 fines for violating technical rules regarding the braking systems on the new Dallara DW12."

This would seem to be the direct result of recently changed rules on the braking system. In the past, these kinds of infractions may have slid past inspection, not received a fine or not been made public. 

This isn't something you would expect to alter the speed of the car. However, it was important that Indy made these fines and made them public. 

This is a league that is struggling to stay relevant. And it was cast in an ominous light after the death of Dan Wheldon in the last race of last season. 

Fans and racers alike were openly questioning the decision making in the setup of that race, and felt it attributed to unsafe conditions. 

It was important for the league to show they were committed to safety. They made changes in the offseason towards this end, and now they are showing they are dedicated towards ensuring that teams follow the rules they have in place. 

Following the tragedy that marred the end of last season, the IRL has a long way to go towards restoring the faith that they are committed to safety, and this is a solid start.