Charlie Kimball (pictured), Dario Franchitti, Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal will be forced to suffer 10-spot grid penalties for the first race of the next IZOD IndyCar Series event — the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader on June 1 — due to unapproved engine changes this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Chip Ganassi Racing pilots Kimball and Franchitti swapped Hondas before yesterday’s Pole Day qualifying, while Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) and Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) switched their own Hondas before this morning’s Bump Day activities. Newgarden and Rahal are currently the two fastest second-day qualifiers, with Newgarden at 225.731 miles per hour and Rahal at 225.007 miles per hour.
Per IndyCar rules, full-time entrants can only use five fresh engines from the mid-March Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park to the season finale in mid-October at Auto Club Speedway. Entrants are only allowed to change powerplants once they meet a mileage threshold of 2,000 miles or receive IndyCar’s approval.
Newgarden and Rahal are each now on their third engines of the season, while Kimball and Franchitti are both on their second engines.
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: