Another Year, Another Round Of Penalties For Chevy

In turn one on lap 2, Helio Castroneves leads the field at St Petersburg. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Indianapolis – Chevrolet dominates on the track and gives it back when INDYCAR opens the rulebook.

The American engine-manufacturer was docked championship manufacturer points on Monday by the rules makers in Indianapolis. A vaguely-worded press release from the INDYCAR series announced 20-point penalties for each of eleven Chevy-powered race cars which participated in the Mar 26 Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Florida.

The statement reads, “According to Rule of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, 20 points will be deducted for a non-minor engine repair. Eleven of the 12 Chevrolet engines in the field underwent repairs following the St. Petersburg race.”

The twenty-pointer is doled out when an engine either 1) fails to achieve its competitive life cycle minimum mileage or 2) undergoes a component change of a non-minor technical level.

The latter infraction was identified as the issue in the St Petersburg race, the season’s first competitive event of the 2015 championship year.

The result is a Honda 162-point lead in the manufacturers’ championship heading into this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at New Orleans Motorsports Park. Chevrolet will likely appeal the rules decision and fight to get the points back, or partially restored to its tally.

This isn’t the first time either engine manufacturer has run afoul of the sporting regulations. In 2014 both Honda and Chevrolet were penalized points when multiple cars of both manufacturers underwent non-minor repairs involving engine component change or failure to meet the 2500 mile engine life requirement.

A fifty point penalty was levied at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama in April of 2014 against Chevrolet, and at the same time Honda lost 30 points, for engine-change and engine-repair infractions.

At the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May 2014 Chevrolet engine-related violations cost the maker $20,000 and 10 points in the manufacturers championship.

In 2012 the competition was changed significantly when ten-spot grid penalties were meted out to the entire Chevy-powered contingent in the starting field at Long Beach, California for engine infractions.

The violations at the Long Beach Grand Prix were described as necessary because of a technical issue that was identified pre-race by the manufacturer, and that affected all of its newly-introduced V6 turbocharged engine entries uniformly.

INDYCAR subsequently changed the engine-related penalty to a points-based misdemeanor rather than an on-the-track penalty.

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