Photo from chevrolet.com
Chevy’s Been Very, Very Naughty: The bow tie brand was slapped with penalties this week for switching out faulty valve springs on their engines following their sweep at St. Pete. Hundreds of points were deducted in the manufacturer’s championship for what amounts to a parts recall. As a result Chevy has negative points after one race despite dominating it. The IndyCar manufacturer’s championship rewards reliability as well as wins and the series requires 2500 miles before “non-minor” changes can be made to the power plants. In this case Chevy took the penalty for the early valve spring change rather than risk engine failure. The points deduction approach makes more sense than last year’s ten grid position penalty, which confused fans and those responsible for reporting the starting order alike.
Photo from indycar.com
Already Aero Kit Updates: In the wake of the St. Pete embarrassment and serious injury to a spectator, IndyCar ordered first Honda and then Chevy to strengthen their flimsy aero kits with still more parts and pieces. Honda’s even strengthening their rear tire guards or “ass pods” in the temporary fix, as well. These remedies will supposedly strengthen the cars, though both drivers and manufacturers have pointed out that they aren’t designed for contact and should be driven accordingly especially with a price tag of $20,000. We’re not overly confident the bumping on the road courses in the IndyCar series is going away anytime soon – or the flying near lethal pieces – but we are glad IndyCar heeded our warning about the danger of the new kits.
Photo from tampabay.com
Who Got JR?: Famous 500 wall banger J.R. Hildebrand will drive the third car for CFH Racing in both Indianapolis races in May. You may remember as a rookie JR was leading the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in the National Guard car for Panther racing until he hit the wall in the final turn of the race. The heartbroken 23 year old watched Dan Wheldon pass him for an emotional second win. JR eventually lost his ride in the series while Panther lost its sponsorship, lawsuit and team. We hope things work out better in the future for JR, his sponsors and new employers.
Photo from nytimes.com
Happy Returns at NOLA: Andretti Autosport announced this week that Simona de Silvestro will be back in the 25 car this weekend at NOLA. She struggled at St. Pete incurring a penalty for avoidable contact and finishing 18th. Apparently she’s on a week to week basis with the team and could use a strong result in the swamp to help ensure her future participation in IndyCar. Target Ganassi Racing will also run rookie Sage Karam in their fourth car again this weekend. The 20 year old American finished 19th in Florida and predicts a good show with some passing in turns 1 and 10 at NOLA. Nah. We’re going with the gator stealing the show, rook.
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Panasonic Pain in the @$$: The iconic Pagoda at IMS is now sadly to be officially referred to as the “Panasonic Pagoda” after an official partnership was announced this week. Apparently it’s part of the deal for the new video boards that have gone up at the Brickyard. On principle, we will never again refer to the Pagoda as anything other than simply the Pagoda.
Photo from Indy Race Reviewer
Extra Parts: Cavin reports that with Honda and Chevy both agreeing to 17 entries each for the 500 there may be actual bumping on bump day. Barely. He also noted at St. Pete the front wings splintered “more easily than what’s ideal.” Gee, you think?