NASCAR team owner Jack Roush talks possible Cup engine changes

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With NASCAR indicating that it will make engine modifications for the Sprint Cup Series sometime in the future – which could involve a reduction in horsepower – one of the series’ most prominent team owners has an idea on how the sanctioning body should do it.

Jack Roush, owner of Roush Fenway Racing, told NASCAR.com that the modifications should include “a restriction on the intake side” that doesn’t involve restrictor plates, such as a reduction of the throttle bore size.

“[It is] straightforward and it is easily reversible if you decided that the quality of the racing was hurt by it,” Roush said. “If they want to take 100 horsepower off, reduce horsepower significantly, the least expensive and most palatable way to do that is with a restriction on the intake side.”

Roush also hoped that NASCAR would take the costs incurred upon the teams into account as they go about making the changes, saying that his and other teams can only afford to change so much at a time.

However, Roush feels like the sanctioning body could ultimately wind up simply reducing the RPM on the engine and add a requirement that engines must be used for two races apiece.

“By reducing the RPM, you reduce the power available for the car without changing its restriction or changing its displacement,” he said. “By making the requirement that an engine be run twice before it was subject to rebuild, we would have that opportunity to reduce costs to the teams.”

NASCAR CEO Brian France first indicated earlier this month that engine changes would come sometime within the next two seasons.

Shortly afterwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr. declared that a horsepower drop was inevitable and also, his hope that the engine would be smaller to preserve throttle response from the cockpit.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).