April 17, 2012
IndyCar grid penalties justified
By Dean McNulty, QMI AGENCY
There had been plenty of criticism directed at the bosses of the IZOD IndyCar Series for not reversing the 10-spot grid penalty incurred by the 11 Chevrolet teams on Sunday at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
As far as I am concerned all that criticism is bogus.
Chevrolet decided after the engine of Canada’s James Hinchcliffe developed problems at a test at Infineon Raceway last week that it would replace the power plants of its entire fleet rather than risk failure on race day.
The rule set forth and agreed to by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus before the season started was that any team changing engines between races would face a 10-spot penalty at the start of the next race.
Several Lotus teams, including Alex Tagliani’s Barracuda/Brian Herta Autosport squad, had already paid the price so to forgive Chevrolet for doing the same thing would be blatantly unfair.
And with Will Power winning at Long Beach in a magnificent run in the No. 12 Penske Racing Chevrolet and Hinchcliffe finishing third in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet — after starting 12th and 16th respectively — it proved that the Chevys didn’t need any help from IndyCar’s new rules czar Beaux Barfield after all.
GORDON LAMENTS NEW PAVEMENT PLANS
Four time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon has a bone to pick with race track owners.
He opposes the move by those folks to re-pave ovals where he has been successful over the years.
Take this week’s race at Kansas Speedway as an example.
Gordon has a pair of wins, eight top fives and nine top 10’s in the 12 years that NASCAR has been going to the Kansas City 1.5 mile oval.
But after Sunday’s STP 400, the track surface will be torn up and new pavement laid down in time for NASCAR’s return during next fall’s Chase for the Championship.
Gordon said that move will likely take away any advantage he and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team might have.
“I love Kansas and other worn-out tracks,” he said. “We’ll enjoy this final race on the old surface as much as we can.
“I think worn-out surfaces are the ones that put on the best show. I don’t know anybody that’s a real fan of a repave.”
Gordon, who has won 85 Cup races in his career, may have forgotten that his two victories at Kansas came when the track was brand spanking new back in 2001, a feat he repeated the next season.
“For whatever reason, we have run well here since the beginning,” he said. “We won the first two races and, even though we experienced engine issues (last) fall, we ran well in both races here last year.
“And I think our cars are even better this year.”
NO EXCUSES FROM KIMI FOR FADE AT SHANGHAI
Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen almost got his first podium finish since his return to Formula One at the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday at Shanghai in the Lotus Renault.
After chasing down the leaders and moving to second at one point, Raikkonen faded fast due to worn tires to end up 14th.
He did not, however, offer any excuses.
“We were pretty close to finishing on the podium; we didn’t; that’s racing,” he said.
But he has high hopes for Bahrain next week.
“A podium should be possible and I think it has been at all the races we’ve been at so far,” he said.