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What you say on Twitter may come back to haunt you.
That's what John Barnes, CEO and managing partner for Panther Racing discovered after voicing his displeasure over INDYCAR's recent turbocharger compressor cover protest.
On Saturday morning, with Barnes in Indianapolis and his No. 4 Panther Racing National Guard Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone IZOD IndyCar Series race car driven by JR Hildebrand in Sao Paulo, Brazil, INDYCAR announced it has fined JB $25,000 and placed him on probation through to the end of the calendar year for "using improper or disparaging language in reference to INDYCAR on his Twitter account."
The rule cited by INDYCAR, No. 188.8.131.52 cites Barnes' actions in "using improper, profane or disparaging language or gestures in reference to Officials, Members or actions or situations connected in any way with INDYCAR, the IZOD IndyCar Series or any Event."
After looking at Barnes' Twitter account, I can't find anything that incendiary, but it's also possible JB's comment, "Today is the day to resolve TURBOGATE! I hope @indycar gets their act together. It has been embarrassing," might be the culprit. I have corrected his misspellings in the tweet.Barnes did have this to say after learning of his fine and probation: "Nobody cares about open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500 more than I do, and therefor I’m very passionate about all the decisions that are made – right or wrong – that affect our sport.
"I’m not the first person who has disagreed with a sports league or sanctioning body’s decision and I certainly won’t be the last to get fined for doing so," Barnes reminded.
"While my passion for this sport will never waver, I should have chosen a more private forum to voice my opinions. Even if we don’t always agree, I respect the authority of the IndyCar Series and its officials and will continue to abide by their rules and regulations.”
Barnes may contest the penalties by INDYCAR but such a decision has not been made yet, the team said. A protest or appeal may result in an increase, decrease or no change to the penalties.