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Roger Penske and his new Chevrolet connection: how far will it go?

  Chevrolet's new man at Indy? The Captain looks like he's back in the driver's seat. But what does that mean for Roger and NASCAR? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern



   General Motors' new Indy-car engine program, set for 2012, will apparently be centered around racing legend Roger Penske, according to sources familiar with the situation.
   Whether or not Penske will handle the new Indy engine operation remains to be seen. And how will Ford, Dodge and Toyota respond?

GM has been looking at getting back into Indy-car racing for several months, and its purpose, according to key engine people involved, is to get closer to production-based engines which are smaller than the current NASCAR standard 358 c.i. V-8s.
   For example, Chevy's new Cruze will be powered by a 1.4-liter turbo. The new GM Indy engine, which would take aim at Honda, the only engine supplier in Indy-car racing right now, would be along those lines, something a bit larger.
   The Indy-car tour currently uses 'crate' engines, which are provided by the manufacturer and must be used out-of-the-crate, without alterations. Presumably the new GM Chevy Indy-car engine would be using the same rules, meaning anyone could buy an engine-lease package.
   Official announcement of some of GM's plans is expected Friday; the Indy Racing League has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. ET at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
   The IRL season ended last month, but the rival NASCAR season goes another two weeks, with this weekend's Phoenix race and next weekend's Homestead finale.

Penske and Chevy

Mr. Penske is using the Chevy in the IRL for that "unfair advantage".
I don't think he'll move from Dodge in NASCAR because he is the only Dodge team and has that same "unfair advantgage" now.

NASCAR is trying to persuade

NASCAR is trying to persuade us how good COT racing is every week with the usual shop-worn press releases while they sit on their hands and watch grandstand attendance continue to drop and televisions switched to other channels. Maybe Chevy realizes it can get cooperation and better viewer numbers over at Indy Car. I hope NASCAR finally sees the light before it's too late that the current crop of prospective fans has a shorter attention span and is not so much interested in high performance cars as he is in having the latest technology gadget in his hand. Chevy maybe sees that though.

Indycar Has Become Irrelevant

Indycar has collapsed after clawing forward in the first half of the last decade because it made the mistake of letting Honda and Toyota in and not regulating them. The audience for Indycars has disappeared. The "shorter attention span" argument is an audience problem, not a sport problem.

Having the latest technology gadget means nothing. The reality that NASCAR is still a better racing series with its restrictive rules than Indycar racing or any series with more open rules is something that will never be shaken. NASCAR's problems remain about lack of competition, not lack of technology.

Racing is Dead

There is no real racing anymore. It died over 20 years ago.
Real racing is doing whatever it takes to go faster than the other guy. Period.
Today's racing is about being "competitive" and "marketable" and "green" and "safe"... and it is boring.

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