IRL: Kansas: Chevy preview

Racing Around While Chevrolet's IndyCar contingent celebrates the Fourth of July weekend at Kansas Speedway, the Bowtie brigade is also racing to reach another motorsports milestone at Daytona International Speedway. Chevy can tally its 400th ...

Racing Around

While Chevrolet's IndyCar contingent celebrates the Fourth of July weekend at Kansas Speedway, the Bowtie brigade is also racing to reach another motorsports milestone at Daytona International Speedway. Chevy can tally its 400th NASCAR Winston Cup victory in the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night. Chevy swept the top three qualifying spots for the Pepsi 400, with RCR teammates Steve Park and Kevin Harvick starting on the front row and Jeff Gordon the third fastest qualifier. Michael Waltrip is gunning for his third straight victory in Daytona Beach with his DEI-prepared Chevy.

Chevy is most successful manufacturer and the Monte Carlo is the winningest nameplate in Winston Cup competition since NASCAR's modern era began in 1972.

Chevy's Cavalier was in the winner's circle last weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis when Ron Krisher won Pro Stock at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals. Krisher notched Chevrolet's 115th NHRA Pro Stock victory. The Corvette Racing team won the GTS division in the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta on last Sunday at Road Atlanta. The victory coincided with Corvette's 50th Anniversary celebration and maintained Corvette Racing's undefeated streak in the American Le Mans Series.

Chevrolet is the only manufacturer currently competing in the IRL, NASCAR Winston Cup, NHRA and American Le Mans Series.

Beating the Heat

The Kansas Indy 300 is traditionally one of the hottest races on the IRL tour, but even a 90-degree day in the heartland pales alongside the extreme temperatures inside a Chevy Indy V8 racing engine. The heat of combustion can exceed 2,000 degrees Centigrade - a temperature hot enough to melt metal. Managing this heat is a top priority for GM Racing engineers and IRL engine builders at Kansas Speedway.

One gallon of methanol, the fuel of choice for IndyCar teams, contains 57,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of heating value, enough energy to raise the temperature of 570 pounds of water by 100 degrees. Roughly 25 percent of the fuel's energy is converted to useful work, 5 percent is used to overcome the engine's internal friction and 5 percent is radiated directly into the air. The largest portion, about 35 percent, goes out the tailpipes as exhaust heat. The remaining 30 percent is heat that must be dissipated by the engine's cooling system.

IndyCar teams will open up the radiator exits in their cars' sidepods to get more air through the coolers. Opening these radiator exits reduces downforce, but the cooling requirements of the engine take priority. Surprisingly, the engine is most vulnerable to overheating while running at low speeds during caution periods because Indy cars do not have cooling fans. Instead, they rely on the forward speed of the car to move air through the coolers.

The $6 Million Man

When Sam Hornish Jr. finished fourth in the preceding race in Richmond, Va., he finished ahead of the six Honda-powered entries in the event and earned seven points for Chevrolet in the IRL Manufacturer's Championship. He also added $63,400 to his career earnings, pushing his total IRL prize money to more than $6 million. Buddy Lazier is the top money winner in IRL history with $8,649,159, while 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. is second with $6,265,893. Hornish is third with $6,053,455.

The Long Run

Chevy Indy V8 racing engines have won a total of 100 Indy car races to date. The first-generation 2.65-liter turbocharged Chevy Indy V8 won 86 times and claimed 80 poles in CART and USAC-sanctioned events in 1987-93. Chevy returned to open-wheel racing in 2002 with the 3.5-liter naturally aspirated Chevy Indy V8 that won 14 out of 15 races and nine poles in IRL competition last season.

-gmr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Ron Krisher , Kevin Harvick , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Corvette Racing