IndyCar announces a long-term extension with Chevrolet and Honda

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The NTT IndyCar Series shored up its engine future Saturday, announcing a multiyear extension to keep Honda and Chevrolet as engine suppliers “well into the end of the decade.”

Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IndyCar will delay the introduction of a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 with hybrid technology by two years until 2023. The engine would add an additional 100 horsepower to more than 900.

“To be able to announce a long-term, multiyear extension with our two great partners is phenomenal,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said in a release. “It’s an exciting time in IndyCar with the innovations in the car, the new 2.4-liter engine and hybrid technology.”

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The news comes on the heels of Honda having revealed Friday that it will exit Formula One after the 2021 season, citing its shift toward achieving carbon neutrality.

IndyCar also is trying to add more engine manufacturers with Ferrari reportedly having shown interest.

Here’s the release from IndyCar:

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020) – INDYCAR has reached a new, multi-year extension with engine
partners Honda and Chevrolet, taking their partnership well into the end of the decade and providing
stability and innovation for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“To be able to announce a long-term, multi-year extension with our two great partners is phenomenal,”
INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “It’s an exciting time in INDYCAR with the innovations in the car, the
new 2.4-liter engine and hybrid technology.”

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of the 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 with
hybrid technology will be delayed to the year 2023. Working in partnership with Chevrolet and Honda,
the new engine will give the most exciting and competitive racing series in the world an additional 100
horsepower, ultimately producing over 900.

“Honda welcomes this step to the future by INDYCAR, action that mirrors Honda’s efforts to develop and
manufacture high-performance, electrified products that will meet industry challenges and delight our
customers,” said Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development. “At Honda, we race to
develop our people, to innovate technologies and to engage fans. We are proud of our uninterrupted,
27-year leadership in INDYCAR, and look forward to delivering a next-generation Honda 2.4-liter hybrid
power unit with more than 900 horsepower.”

“Chevrolet has enjoyed great success since joining the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012 with our 2.2-liter,
twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6 engine,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors. “We are
thrilled to be moving forward with INDYCAR because it’s the perfect showcase for our engine
technology, in the only open-wheel racing series in America, a high-tech, growing series that Roger
Penske and his team are absolutely taking to the next level.”

The newly designed powertrain system also will provide a departure from the traditional, manual
handheld starters and will let drivers restart the car quickly should it stall on the track. This will benefit
the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team as it reduces exposure time on track and adds to the fan experience by
potentially reducing the number of caution flags on track, leading to better flow and time of races.

“Fast, loud, and authentic,” Frye said, “along with a history of innovation – that’s our racing roots and
will continue to be the sport’s legacy. This announcement keeps that in mind while celebrating a stable
and bright future.”

The commitment and overall stability of the series will continue to allow INDYCAR future opportunities
for an additional OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to join its mainstay engine partners.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”