IRL eyes NASCAR engines?

UPDATE This AutoWeek article agrees with our assertion that production based engines for the IRL are not good and will certainly drive Honda out of the series. GM officials have stated their desire to see the latter, suggesting it might be enough to bring Chevy back to the series. Toyota might be interested in such a change, too, though no decision has been made. There is no questioning Honda’s preference. “We’ve told [the IRL] early on that we’re not interested in that, and nothing has changed," said Robert Clarke, vice president and general manager of Honda Performance Development. (Honda does not have an overhead-cam V8 in its passenger-car lineup, or any V8, for that matter.)……..“We will have to make a decision to attract the most manufacturers to us," Barnhart said. Barnhart is concerned about jeopardizing reliability because he has endured the IRL’s long road of progress. The first equipment formula implemented by the IRL, in 1997, included production-based engines, and they failed regularly. The switch to a 3.5-liter engine came in 2000, and improvement followed. The drop to a 3.0-liter engine this past May further improved reliability. Although failures still occur as the builders seek the smallest of horsepower gains, the reliability of the engines has almost become a non-issue in the IRL. 11/29/04 With Honda and Toyota expected to go the way of Chevy and eventually exit the IRL series, they may be left with no engines after 2006. One rumor making the rounds is that the IRL could switch to Nextel Cup pushrod engines. Who dreams up these ideas anyway? On paper it may sound like a logical thing to do, but when you shoehorn in a behemoth NASCAR engine into the back end of the chassis, the light car becomes very heavy in the back and the engine cover very large. Besides looking silly, the rear wing won't be as efficient with the big and wide engine cover disturbing the airflow and, coupled with the tail heavy car, we will be back to the early production based engine days of the IRL when the tail-happy cars spun tail first into the walls on a regular basis breaking many a drivers back. Can you say Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching? The cash registers at Dallara, G-Force and Methodist Hospital in Indy are going to be singing and it won't be 'Back Home Again in Indiana'……more like 'We're in the Money.' Mark C.

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