CHEVROLET WILL RACE THIS CAR IN NASCAR IN 2013 . . . WILL IT BE BUILT IN OSHAWA?
They had 30 cars on track at Indianapolis Thursday and most were just whipping right along in the 220 mph-plus range with the exception of two cars still stuck with Lotus engines — Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro.
The two Dragon Racing cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge have now officially switched to Chevrolet engines for the race and perhaps the rest of the year as well. That last bit remains up in the air because Dragon owner Jay Penske and Lotus are still suing each other and who knows where their fight will lead to after the 500 is over.
Meantime, Alesi is driving the Lotus “house car” that has been entered by Tyce Carlson’s Indy Lights team (I mean, really) and de Silvestro is in the HVM Racing car and is likely stuck because — although this is just a hunch — I don’t know if owner Keith Wiggins has the resources or sponsorship to get out of the Lotus deal and pay for a Chevrolet or Honda engine lease going forward.
What is really problematic is that both those cars are way off the pace. Scott Dixon set the top speed Thursday of 223.088 mph and Alesi went 207-plus while de Silvestor could only go 205.690.
They will both get to start the race, of course, and collect last- or second-last place prize money ($300,000 or so) but here’s the rub: does IndyCar tell them to fire up and go around for the parade laps and pace lap and then, as the field moves out of Turn 4 and heads for the green , go into the pits?
Or does IndyCar wait seven or eight laps before they’re about to be overtaken and then give them the black flag (as they did to Toronto’s Marty Roth one year)?
I would expect they would politely ask them to drop out rather than embarrass them with a black flag, but what do I know?
Alesi, meantime, is not happy about the situation and told reporters earlier this week that he feels a bit like a sitting duck out there.
“Right now, I feel very unsafe, being quite slow in the middle of the track,” said Alesi, “so I am quite concerned for my fellow drivers if we are not able to get the speed that we need. I am flat out, and I have reached 205 as the maximum that I can see. So it is not a comfortable position right now.”
They will all get a 50 hp boost Friday, so the two slowpokes might be able to pick up the pace. Problem is, Dixon, et al, will be running 225-226, so it'll all be relative.
This from the Detroit News on Thursday:
“General Motors Co. said Thursday that Chevrolet will bring a new V-8 rear-wheel drive performance Chevrolet SS to the U.S. as a 2014 model, marking the first time in 17 years that Chevy has offered a rear-wheel sedan (in America).
“The automaker announced the SS will be Chevy's next NASCAR Sprint Cup race car and will debut at the 2013 Daytona 500.
“The SS will be available in limited production and will hit dealerships in late 2013.
(Norris note: Will they build it in Oshawa? Stay tuned . . .)
“As a passionate race fan and performance enthusiast, I am thrilled that Chevrolet will deliver a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car in the SS that is closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale,” Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said in a statement.
“The Chevrolet SS is a great example of how GM is able to leverage its global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience that extends beyond the track. I am personally looking forward to driving it.”
Chevrolet first announced that it would race a new vehicle in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series in March and said the vehicle would be a new nameplate for the brand.
Chrysler Corp. LLC and Ford Motor Co. have already shown their new race cars.
In January, Ford revealed the 2013 Ford Fusion Sprint Cup car, which is modeled after the 2013 Ford Fusion and Dodge and SRT Motorsports unveiled a new 2013 Dodge Charger for the Sprint Cup.”