Could Cosworth be close to Indy engine return? We’ll know shortly

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As the Verizon IndyCar Series heads for its final event of the season this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., engine reliability is likely to be a big topic.

The 500-mile season finale was a war of attrition a year ago as Chevrolets and Hondas went left and right, primarily due to the heat and radiator clogging that took place.

A third engine manufacturer could well be joining the fray soon and have its own chance to win on reliability itself.

MotorSportsTalk was first to report earlier this year that Cosworth is actively seeking a return to IndyCar by attempting to partner with an OEM, as part of the company’s growth plan and strategic development.

Per an update from the company’s CEO Hal Reisiger in a conversation last week, we’ll know within 30-60 days whether the company’s intentions can become a reality.

“We have had discussions take place with two OEMs, and we are obviously very committed to it,” Reisiger told MotorSportsTalk. “A number of the OEMS with new management and sponsors of IndyCar have been watching the positive changes to determine their level of interest.

“We’re hopeful that within the coming weeks, we can take it to the next level.”

Reisiger said Cosworth, which still maintains a regular presence in IndyCar from an electronics standpoint and also premiered the “Cosworth Live on Air” program earlier this season, would seek to align with an OEM to allow for technology transfer between both production cars and race cars. Cosworth is amping up its presence on production cars as we speak.

Regarding aero kits, which are set to be introduced this offseason and then make their race debut once the North American portion of the 2015 season premieres, Reisiger said Cosworth has partners who could work with them to make that happen.

“We have partners we could work with we’ve already lined up, which is something we have to take into account,” he said. “We have two pre-selected partners for the aero kits who could support our efforts immediately.”

Perhaps the biggest piece of Cosworth news that is immediately coming down the pipeline, beyond the potential IndyCar engine involvement, is the development of a performance data recorder for the model year 2015 Corvette.

“It goes to our strategy of bringing motorsports inspired technology going to road cars,” Reisiger explained. “It’s basically data acquisition and telemetry that originates in our motorsport programs, and so we will have a data recorder for model year ’15 Corvette. We are at the start of regular production for that. That’s a big event for us.”

There’s more coming, it seems, for Cosworth on the automotive side of affairs. So the company’s continuing growth and development continues. The only question is whether that growth and development includes being the long-awaited third manufacturer in IndyCar.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)