Will Power said Thursday he was unaware of any manipulations to Team Penske’s push-to-power system until after last weekend’s IndyCar race at Long Beach and never illegally used the mechanism.

Team Penske is under heavy scrutiny following the March 10 season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Florida, in which Josef Newgarden was stripped of the victory and Scott McLaughlin, who finished third, was also disqualified.

Power finished fourth and while his result was not thrown out, he was docked 10 points and all three Penske drivers were fined $25,000. Power has not been accused of any wrongdoing by IndyCar but was punished because the manipulated systems were found on all three Penske cars following Sunday morning’s warmup in California.

“I was disappointed to learn about the penalty that we received this week from IndyCar,” Power wrote on social media. “There was an oversight by our team and I was unaware of the situation until it was brought to our attention following Long Beach.

“As per the rules, I did not utilize the P2P capabilities during any start or restart during the St. Petersburg race,” he continued. “While I accept the penalty, I want it to be known that I did nothing wrong and followed the rules.”

Team Penske has maintained that the push-to-pass system on its three Chevrolets was utilized in a test session for upcoming hybrid engines and then mistakenly not replaced before the start of the season. It remained on the cars for three races and Newgarden onboard videos clearly show the reigning Indianapolis 500 winner illegally using push-to-pass to gain position on at least one restart.

McLaughlin in a Wednesday night statement said he used the system for less than 2 seconds and gained no positions on the track. He said he pushed the button out of habit.

IndyCar prohibits the use of the push-to-pass system on starts and restarts and the button isn’t even supposed to work on those occasions. The issue was discovered Sunday in California when a glitch in the system knocked push-to-pass out on all cars except the three Penske entries.

IndyCar then examined the units, found them to be illegal, and forced the team to correct the systems before the race.

Roger Penske, who owns the race team, IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, told The Associated Press “I am embarrassed” by the scandal. Newgarden has yet to address the issue but a Friday morning news conference has been added to his schedule at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

IndyCar has yet to present the data that proves Newgarden manipulated his way to the victory. The disqualification dropped him from first to 11th in points and the scandal hit right before Friday night’s Season 2 debut episode of “100 Days to Indy” in which Newgarden is the star.

Newgarden, in addition to being the reigning Indy 500 winner, is a two-time IndyCar champion and in a contract year with Penske. He’s believed to be chasing a pay raise that would put him in line with the extensions recently signed by Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward, drivers with lesser credentials than Newgarden.

O’Ward was named the St. Pete winner following the disqualifications in Arrow McLaren’s first victory since 2022.

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AP IndyCar: https://apnews.com/hub/indycar