Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet notes for the Firestone Indy 200 * IRL Response to GM Racing Request On Wednesday, July 16, GM Racing formally requested that the Indy Racing League approve a new Chevrolet racing engine, designated the Gen ...
Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet notes for the Firestone Indy 200
* IRL Response to GM Racing Request
On Wednesday, July 16, GM Racing formally requested that the Indy Racing League approve a new Chevrolet racing engine, designated the Gen IV Chevy Indy V8, for competition in the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series.
Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League senior vice president of racing, responded to GM's request the following day: "At this time we are reviewing GM's request to change engines as well as their process for distributing the new engine packages to its teams. We anticipate a quick response back to GM Racing as they have kept us abreast of their activities throughout the process."
* Concrete Evidence
Nashville Superspeedway, the site of Saturday night's Firestone Indy 200, is the only 1.33-mile oval on the IRL circuit and the only all-concrete track on the IRL schedule. It's one of three concrete ovals in the U.S. that host major motorsports events; the others are Dover Downs in Dover, Del. (site of IRL races in 1998 and 1999) and Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.
GM engines have won every IRL race contested on a concrete track to date. Scott Sharp and Greg Ray won in Dover in 1998 and 1999 respectively, and Buddy Lazier (2001) and Alex Barron (2002) posted victories at Nashville Superspeedway.
Nashville Superspeedway's abrasive concrete surface makes harsh demands on the Firestone tires used by all IRL teams. GM will present its "Supplier of the Year" award to Bridgestone/Firestone in a pre-race ceremony at the Firestone-sponsored event.
"We cannot put in words how honored we are to be receiving GM's 'Supplier of the Year' award for an incredible eighth straight time, and that for the third year in a row GM officials have seen fit to present it to us at this event," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing.
While a concrete racing surface is rare on an oval track, GM racers in the discipline of drag racing are very familiar with the material. Every track on the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series schedule has a concrete launching pad that provides consistent traction for the Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac SC/T Grand Ams that compete in the Pro Stock class.
* Racing Around
While Chevy IndyCar drivers will race under the lights in Nashville on Saturday night, the Bowtie brigade is also competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup race in Loudon, N.H., the NASCAR Craftsman Truck event in Madison, Ill., and the NHRA drag races at mile-high Bandimere Speedway near Denver. The drag racers will have to cope the same high-altitude conditions encountered by IRL teams last month at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
"You know you're in trouble when the air is so thin that even the birds are walking," said six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson, driver of the GM Performance Parts Pontiac.
* 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.
* About GM
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 342,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2002, GM sold more than 8.6 million cars and trucks, nearly 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com.