Chevrolet earns second straight IndyCar manufacturer’s title

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Chevrolet’s IndyCar Series title contender, Helio Castroneves, may not have been able to win the championship tonight at Auto Club Speedway, but the Bowtie was still able to claim its second consecutive manufacturer’s crown after Will Power took the checkered flag.

Going into the MAV TV 500, seven cars within the Honda ranks (one of them being the No. 9 car of eventual driver’s champ Scott Dixon) and a sole Chevrolet – Castroneves’ No. 3 car – were ineligible to score points for their respective marque. Honda and Chevy had been tied at 135 points, with nine victories achieved by each side.

But with the twin mechanical failures suffered by Honda-powered drivers Charlie Kimball and J.R. Hildebrand just after a restart with 14 laps remaining in tonight’s event, Honda ran out of eligible cars to go toward the manufacturer’s championship.

Chevy-powered pilots locked down the top four positions at the checkered flag, with Power leading Ed Carpenter, Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe across the stripe. Dixon led the Honda camp with a fifth-place finish that brought him his third career series title.

The manufacturer’s title ended a pretty good day for Chevy, whose No. 3 Corvette Racing team of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia earned the final GT driver’s championship in American Le Mans Series history earlier Saturday at Petit Le Mans.

But what of the future? With Honda recently talking about the importance of a third engine manufacturer to emerge for IndyCar, Chevrolet’s Jim Campbell said at ACS that his company would also welcome more open-wheel competition.

“We’d be supportive of another manufacturer,” he said. “When there’s two [manufacturers], you have to do 60 percent [of the cars]. When there’s three, there’s 40 [percent].

“In the end, it’s more about the competition. We don’t like running in a spec series. It pushes you to be better every week.”

In a statement, Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr called tonight’s event an “exciting end” to the season but also “somewhat bittersweet.”

“We’re already looking forward to the start of the 2014 season, which for all of us begins tomorrow,” he said.

MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno contributed to this report.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III