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April 26, 2012


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Methinks those who've immediately jumped on ol' JB for his "negativity" don't necessarily know just what it is that he considers "embarrassing". The first thing they did was suggest that if JB was a NASCAR owner, he'd be so afraid of fines or retribution from the France regime that he'd not consider saying anything like that...and by doing so, not doing much to cloak their ridiculous assumption that if IndyCar doesn't follow in lock-step with the NASCAR model, it's doomed to fail. I call BS on that.


Perhaps Mr. Barnes would do us the honor of being more clear on what's "embarassing" then when he makes this public statement? The process? The ruling? What?


I see that Jenna Fryer thinks that a little turbo squabble is going to make IndyCar implode. I guess after many years on the NASCAR beat, she is used to iron-fisted managed competition. I like her reporting, but if she thinks this is bad, the Split would have made her head spin right off her shoulders.

Great article, pdog. You hit this nail right on the head.

The Speedgeek

"THIS is competition." Every last word, right there with ya. God forbid one party have an advantage over another for four freaking races. I mean , to us diehards, it feels like we've been watching Chevy beat down Honda for 18 months now because we live and die with every press release and Tweet, but we are exactly three races into a 100% new engine formula. There'll be inequities from time to time. The guys who are behind will have to play catch up. This is what competition looks like. No need to gift Lotus extra boost at Indy (as one person suggested on Trackside last week). No need to make sure Chevy and Honda are putting out identical torque curves (as GrandAm basically mandates, which is reason #354 that I can't take that series seriously). Let 'em race and we'll sort out the fine points of competition later.


Turbos not equal.....sounds like what helped lead to the split between USAC (IRL) and Cart (Champcars). Somes gotta win and somes gotta lose.....

....and I must say pressdog, ole boy, good show, jolly good show!

Tom G.

Everybody loves competition, when they're winning. My guess is that Barnes, being a longtime GM affiliated team, likes it juuuussst the way it is. He doesn't want any changes to level the playing field.

I sympathize with him, but think "embarrassing" is a silly word to describe it. As I said last week "controversy sells". It's the 2nd best way to keep the sport on the radar screen (the first being a good product, duh). For all that people complain about the iron hand of the France family in NASCAR, they are a marketing machine when it comes to manufacturing "controversy". A week doesn't pass without a tempest in a teapot over in the Tintop world. Case in point, this week's headlines about Bristol resurfacing.

I say play it up. Chevy vs. Honda cage match! Coming soon to a track near you! And can the automotive equivalent of the 62' Mets (Lotus) get their act together?

Claude Buerger

Since the air intake and the distribution to the turbo is done by Dallara on the engine manufacturer's request and the exhaust output is fixed by Dallara, but I don't know who else does that end, I'd say its Borg-Warner's problem.

Anyways, I vote YES to controversy, the more the better. I can't wait to hear people whining about aero kits. Hopefully by then RB will have begged Mazda into making and engine or opened it up for a non-turbocharge rotary one, and Maclaren will be making one aero kit just for fun and to increase NA market penetration before a steady diet of multiple USGPs.


The engine specs were designed to produce equal or almost equal power plants. My reading says that Honda specifically designed their single turbo to kick ass at Indy while GM chose the other direction with a twin turbo designed for all circuits. The turbo design was never formalized, but was left up to the manufacturers to sort out.

Because Honda is now coming out second best do we say that they have to keep that package for the whole of 2012 or can they change it? If it looks like GM will come out 2nd best at Indy do we say that they aren't allowed to change anything?

I say NO. Have at it boys! This is what we've been waiting years to see.

I’m sure the current meetings are trying to rationalize the promised low/fixed cost engine vs a flat out spending war between Chevy & Honda. I’m glad I’m not caught in the middle but I’m enjoying the spectacle!

Mark Wilkinson (@newtrackrecord)

Agree on all points. I particularly like the Battle of Bull Run reference. Maybe John Barnes thinks he's Stonewall Jackson. "There stands John Barnes like a stone wall. Rally around the Chevrolet!"


Seems that change is difficult for a lot of us fans and even the team owners too.

And while it wasn't totally even, 2005's engine competition doesn't look so bad statistically. Honda won 12 of of 17 races, but was matched by Toyata at 8 pole positions. The dog that year, Chevy, won a race and 3 poles with Scheckter at the wheel and had a car finish on the lead lap of every race they didn't wreck out of except for one.

Compare this with CART's late 1990s four engine war. # = wins
1996 - Honda 11, Ford-Cos 5, Mercedes 0, Toyota 0
1997 - Mercedes 9, Honda 6, Ford-Cos 2, Toyota 0
1998 - Honda 13, Ford-Cos 4, Mercedes 2, Toyota 0
1999 - Honda 14, Ford-Cos 5, Mercedes 1, Toyota 0
2000 - Honda 8, Ford-Cos 7, Toyota 5, Mercedes 0

3 years of Honda dominance, 2 years of pretty close engine competition, and at least one make going winless each season. Political baggage aside, the engine competition was interesting in that era... even in the years where Honda was clearly the best.

Ron Ford

It seems to me that this is just another mini-controversy, not so much different than people getting upset about no aero kits this year, or the looks of the car and on and on and on. Like those, this will pass soon enough despite what Jenna Fryer writes or John Barnes tweets.

Savage Henry

I see this as being part and parcel of recovering from the damage done by the spec ere of American racing. People are getting all bent out of shape about all of this competion because they aren't used to it. Indycar and NASCAR have been spec series for years. Seeing one manufacturer succeed and another fail is just not something we remember because it's been so long.

I think that this provides a great opportunity for Indycar to differentiate itself. Obviously, the Dallara "safety cell" is still spec but with engine competition and aero kits next year there should be lots of juicy controversy. Indycar will appear edgy and exciting by jumping out of the mold of the last many years.

In the end, every era of Indycar racing had its big dog and everyone else. Think about it - Watson/Offy's in the '50s, Eagle/Offys in the '70s, March/Cosworth in the '80s, Lola/Chevy in the early '90s, and then Reynard/Cosworth leading up to the split. Somebody has always been better than everyone else, but domination doesn't last long. That's fine because it gives fans the opportunity to root against the current big dog. Americans love the underdog.

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