IndyCar has heavily penalized engine-builder Chevrolet because the engines Chevy provided required serious repair after the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29.
Chevrolet and Honda currently supply all the engines used in IndyCar racing; these engines are mandated to last 2500 miles of practice, qualifying, and racing, with penalties assessed for changing engines or making major repairs. Eleven of the twelve Chevy engines used in the St. Pete Grand Prix needed “non-minor” repairs, according to an IndyCar press release.
“We identified a batch of valve springs that, due to a process change at one of our suppliers, may fracture before the full mileage requirement,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports in a press release. “We notified IndyCar of the issue and obtained approval to change the valve springs.” The 12th motor will be updated when it has logged a few more miles; the plan it to make the repairs after the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 26.
Engine suppliers earn points from their top three finishers, plus one for qualifying on pole and two for leading the most laps in a race. Chevrolet earned 128 points at St. Pete, winning pole, leading the most laps, and having the top six finishers.
Because 11 engines needed repair, Chevrolet was docked 220 points, 20 for each engine which couldn’t reach the 2500-mile requirement.
Honda earned 70 points; its top three drivers finished seventh, eighth, and tenth. After the penalties, Honda now leads Chevrolet by 162 points.
Chevrolet will have its chance to recoup its losses at the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, Sunday, April 12. Tickets to the race are available online at the race’s website.
The race will be broadcast on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET. Timing and scoring is at IndyCar.com.