Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet notes for the Japan Indy 300 Chevy Keeps on Winning Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominated last weekend's NASCAR races in Talladega, Ala. Earnhardt Jr. scored his fourth straight Winston Cup victory on the...
Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet notes for the Japan Indy 300
Chevy Keeps on Winning
Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominated last weekend's NASCAR races in Talladega, Ala. Earnhardt Jr. scored his fourth straight Winston Cup victory on the Alabama superspeedway with his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, posting Chevy's ninth straight Winston Cup win on the immense 2.66-mile track. Earnhardt Jr. also won the Busch Grand National race at Talladega. With his earlier victory in Daytona, Earnhardt Jr. is now two-for-two in Busch Series races in 2003, while Chevy has won six of the seven Busch Grand National races contested this season. GM Racing, the technical arm of GM's motorsports program, developed a new Monte Carlo body for NASCAR competition in 2003 as well as the all-new Chevy Indy V8 engine that is competing this weekend at Twin Ring Motegi.
Twin Ring Motegi was the site of Earnhardt Jr.'s first Winston Cup race with his father, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. Dale Jr. finished sixth, two positions ahead of his father, in an exhibition race on the Japanese oval in Chevrolet Monte Carlos in November 1998. Mike Skinner won the non-points NASCAR race at Twin Ring Motegi driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo prepared by Richard Childress Racing.
"My father downplayed the competition between us, but I am sure he was as pumped as I was inside," Earnhardt Jr. recalled. "I won the battle by finishing two spots in front of him, but he won the war after sharing a few words while we were changing out of our uniforms."
The Long Haul
Among the tons of equipment that made the long journey from the U.S. to Twin Ring Motegi for the IRL's inaugural overseas event were two Corvette IRL pace cars and three Chevrolet trucks used by the IRL Chevrolet Safety Team. The Corvette pace cars will be flown back to the U.S. after the race to continue their pace car duties for the remainder of the season, but the trucks (used last year on the IRL tour) will remain in Japan for future IRL events at Twin Ring Motegi. Chevrolet has sold 1,493 Corvettes in Japan since the introduction of the fifth-generation model of America's performance icon in 1997.
Prelude to Indy
As the final event leading up to the Indianapolis 500, the Japan Indy 300 is a crucial test before the competition for the crown jewel of the IRL IndyCar Series begins. GM Racing engineers will use information from this weekend's event to evaluate the performance of the latest developments for the Chevy Indy V8 before finalizing the engine specifications for the 500-mile classic on May 25. Information gleaned on the 1.5-mile Motegi oval will be analyzed and applied to the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway where horsepower and aerodynamic efficiency are paramount.
GM in Japan
General Motors, the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, has had a presence in Japan since 1927. GM currently sells vehicles in Japan under the Cadillac, Chevrolet, Opel and Saab brands. Chevy's best-selling Japanese model is the Cruze, a small family wagon that is unique to the Asian-Pacific market. The Chevrolet Cruze was jointly developed by Suzuki and GM. The GM Group includes alliances with Asian automakers such as Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Suzuki Motor Corp. GM also has technology collaborations with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.
The Long Run
Chevy has won a total of 100 Indy-style races to date. The first-generation 2.65-liter turbocharged Chevy Indy V8 won 86 times and claimed 80 poles in the PPG Indy Car World Series 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.
General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM employs about 350,000 people around the world. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.