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Chevy Engines Out at Long Beach – Fan’s Reaction
One of the bigger race events of the year in IndyCar had some startling news. In the wake of questions regarding current "engine issues" heading into the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Chevrolet announced they were pulling all their engines (source - SpeedTV).
After a practice session at Sonoma where James Hinchcliffe blew his engine (source - IndyStar), it was decided by the car manufacturer that all 11 of the cars they currently supply powerplants for, would be pulled and replaced. Because of the engine change, all 11 drivers will be penalized 10 positions on the grid after qualifying at Long Beach per IndyCar rules.
IndyCar has three engine manufacturers after having gone several years with just one spec engine supplied by Honda. Now, along with Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus have joined the series, building new 2.2 liter V6 engines for the current 2012 season. Up to this point, only a very small number of problems have cropped up except for a few issues with Lotus, who has been playing catch-up since they were late entering the engine supplier business.
Keeping costs down
The league states in its rules that an engine cannot be changed prior to running 1,850 miles. Most fans are probably not aware of the rule but supposedly it was intended as a shield against changing engines all the time and bringing up the overall costs. I'm okay with keeping costs down and I've heard that the engine manufacturers were more than fine with the rule. Of course, it could be considered counter-intuitive to think that keeping the cost down requires 11 engines to be changed all at once. Note: If an engine blows during a race, there's no penalty.
I and many others have wondered whether wear and tear on all these new setups would be a common dilemma as the season wore on but if these engine problems are a sign of the times, attrition will be an issue that everyone will be talking about in the days, weeks and months to follow.
By the way, Dragon Racing owned by Jay Penske, has a team car driven by Sebastien Bourdais, which will be penalized for changing their Lotus engine after the Alabama race on April 1.
The Chevrolet teams affected by the setback are: Penske Racing (winners of the first two races), Andretti Autosport, KV Racing, Panther Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing.
With nearly half the grid penalized, it should make for an interesting situation on the track as faster cars try to get by slower ones … on a street course no less.
Sources - Yahoo! Sports, IndyCar
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus blogged about every type of racing for several years.
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