IndyCar issues fresh engine update prior to Sonoma

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INDYCAR issued a fresh engine update prior to this weekend’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (4 p.m. EST, Sunday, NBCSN). All cars but one are either on their fourth or fifth engines. Once teams change to a sixth, further penalties will apply.

There have not been the same number of engine grid penalties issued this year as last, but there are still five races remaining. Thus far, Andretti Autosport, Team Penske, KV Racing Technology, A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Barracuda Racing have only had one engine penalty issued for unapproved changes. Panther Racing, Dragon Racing, and Ed Carpenter Racing have yet to be hit with one. All other teams have two or more; Chip Ganassi Racing, between its three cars, has taken a series-high six grid penalties.

The breakdown as issued by INDYCAR is below:

CAR   ENTRANT                          DRIVER            ENGINE STATUS
No. 1  Andretti Autosport                    Ryan Hunter-Reay    On Engine #4
No. 3  Team Penske                           Helio Castroneves   On Engine #5
No. 4  Panther Racing                        Ryan Briscoe        On Engine #4
No. 5  Team Venezuela-Andretti Autosport-HVM E.J. Viso           On Engine #4
No. 6  Dragon Racing                         Sebastian Saavedra  On Engine #4
No. 7  Dragon Racing                         Sebastien Bourdais  On Engine #4
No. 9  Target Chip Ganassi Racing            Scott Dixon         On Engine #4
No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing            Dario Franchitti    On Engine #5
No. 11 KV Racing Technology                  Tony Kanaan         On Engine #4
No. 12 Team Penske                           Will Power          On Engine #4
No. 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises                 Takuma Sato         On Engine #4
No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing        Graham Rahal        On Engine #5
No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing        James Jakes         On Engine #5
No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing                     James Davison       On Engine #6* 
No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing                     Justin Wilson       On Engine #4
No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing                   Ed Carpenter        On Engine #4
No. 25 Andretti Autosport                    Marco Andretti      On Engine #4
No. 27 Andretti Autosport                    James Hinchcliffe   On Engine #4
No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports          Tristan Vautier     On Engine #5
No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing           Josef Newgarden     On Engine #5
No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports          Simon Pagenaud      On Engine #4
No. 78 KV Racing Technology                  Simona De Silvestro On Engine #4
No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing      Charlie Kimball     On Engine #4
No. 98 Barracuda Racing                      JR Hildebrand       On Engine #4

*Davison’s car, as it is on sixth engine, is not eligible to score manufacturer points if it is the highest-finishing Honda engine.

MRTI: Chris Griffis Test Friday notebook

Photo: Tony DiZinno
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INDIANAPOLIS – Teams have loaded in for this weekend’s Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with testing set all day on Saturday and Sunday for all three rungs of the series: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Some notes from the day are below.

  • Pabst Racing has been busy with testing its new Tatuus PM-18 in recent weeks, to add to its trio of USF-17s. The team has two PM-18 chassis with one completed and built up, and which Calvin Ming will test this weekend. Augie Pabst’s Oconomowoc, Wis.-based team won the team championship in USF2000 this season.
  • Look for Ayla Agren to test Pabst’s PM-18 next week for several days. The talented Indianapolis-based Norwegian/Swede is a past F1600 champion and has raced in parts of the last three USF2000 seasons with Team Pelfrey and John Cummiskey Racing; Agren is working on stepping up into Pro Mazda next season.
  • Another intriguing Pabst USF2000 product this weekend is New Zealander Hunter McElrea, a 17-year-old go-kart veteran who completed his first season of car racing this year in Australian Formula Ford. He was unlucky to only end fourth in the year’s championship, with several poles and wins but a bit of inconsistency that cost him the title. His father, Andy McElrea, has been in the U.S. before moving back home, where he’s enjoyed success as a driver, engineer and team director. The younger McElrea said he “learned heaps” this year and is optimistic of building a budget to come Stateside in 2018, and said it was a bit surreal to have his first real run at IMS. Born in the U.S., McElrea holds both U.S. and New Zealand dual citizenship.
  • Arguably the busiest driver in the month or so since the Watkins Glen season finale has been Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, who’s had several Pro Mazda tests with three different teams (Pabst, Juncos Racing and Exclusive Autosport) and will run this weekend with Belardi Auto Racing in Indy Lights, and will work with engineer Kent Boyer. VeeKay would succeed in North America for a second year, as he contemplates whether to move up from USF2000 into Pro Mazda or emulate RC Enerson in going from USF2000 straight to Indy Lights. VeeKay’s No. 4 car was Shelby Blackstock’s chassis from the 2017 season.
  • Teammate Nico Jamin, who was busy with several different types of cars this year besides his primary role in Indy Lights, will test Belardi’s No. 5 car, which was Santiago Urrutia’s chassis, and work with engineer Tim Neff. Jamin got the call a couple weeks ago and has come back from his home country of France, where he’s been since shortly after the season ended.
  • The third Belardi car, the No. 9 car still in the Mazda “soul red” livery for 2016 Pro Mazda champion Aaron Telitz, is on site this weekend. Telitz will test with RJB Motorsports’ USF2000 team – the car having been returned from ArmsUp Motorsports for this test – and the Birchwood, Wis. native will have the chance to work with open-wheel veterans Alex Barron and Mirl Swan as part of RJB’s crew. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Telitz also running in other cars and series this weekend.
  • At least for this test, Cape Motorsports’ Pro Mazda car has a cool “magic 8 ball” livery for Oliver Askew. The primarily black with some white paint scheme probably wouldn’t stay that way provided Mazda’s scholarship comes with the switch to a “soul red” livery once the season properly commences.
  • Jake Craig, who will test with Newman Wachs Racing this test, has been awarded the eKartingNews.com Karting Entry Ticket for this year’s Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout. The 19-year-old native of Mission Viejo, Calif. is the 12th driver who has a confirmed ticket so far for the shootout, which takes place in December in Arizona.
  • Colton Herta is in a funny spot with regards to World Series preference depending on whether the New York Yankees or Houston Astros wins tonight’s Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, as the Yankees lead the series 3-2 heading into tonight’s game and look to advance to the World Series to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Herta grew up a Dodgers fan but his Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing team features team principal George Michael Steinbrenner IV, son of Hank Steinbrenner, and the Steinbrenners of course are the Yankees’ principal owners. Perhaps it’s a good problem to have?
  • Myles Rowe, who’s won three races in six starts in the Lucas Oil School of Racing, will be in one of John Cummiskey Racing’s Tatuus USF-17 chassis this weekend. The Smyrna, Ga. native has a good head on his shoulders and could well impress.