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Friday, October 24, 2014 @ 01:59 PM EDT

Drivers Not Eligible to Race at Milwaukee

CommentaryIt's not that they've done anything wrong - it's because they are too young! While at Concord, we learned that due the fact that the USAR series is a “support” event for the IRL race at Milwaukee, it presents a problem for the drivers under the age of 18. Because of the 1997 tobacco lawsuit settlement, drivers under the age of 18 will not be allowed to compete in the USAR combination Northern/Southern race coming up at Milwaukee on May 31st.

05.01.08 - original details we posted yesterday have been updated (see italics) - please re-read the rest of the article for the updates.We don't know all of the legal details, but simply put, the tobacco advertising settlement, combined with a contract between the IRL Series and the racetrack prohibits the younger drivers from racing in an event where tobacco is advertised. Team Penske's IRL efforts are sponsored by Phillip Morris and we're uncertain if the IRL Series itself has any ties to a tobacco sponsor.

Prior to March 17, the series and drivers were unaware of the problem. When USAR learned of the situation on March 17, the drivers were called and told about the ruling. In addition, a memo went out to teams in the entry blank on March 18.

USAR is working out plans which would allow a substitute driver, 18 years of age or older, to race the car and the underage driver would still be awarded the points earned to count towards their yearly totals. As part of the solution, those drivers affected will, and must, practice on Thursday during the test day. This will be deemed a "qualifying attempt". Thursday is not part of the "Race Weekend". On Friday, the team's selected replacement driver will practice the car and qualify it. It will be considered a driver switch, per the rulebook, and the qualified drivers will start at the rear. However, the points will count towards the driver who practiced the car on Thursday.

This seems like the only fair answer to this difficult situation.

The ruling would affect the following Pro Cup drivers, should they chose to enter the event (Farbo is not on the entry list, but would be affected if his team changes plans):

  • Trevor Bayne - #29s - 17 years old
  • Joey Coulter - #02s - 17 years old
  • Trevor Farbo - #35s - 16 years old
  • Hunter Robbins - #6s - 17 years old
  • Tyler Young - #11n - 17 years old

    Possible substitute drivers have not been named by any of the teams as of yet.

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