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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Engine woes strike Honda IndyCar entries of Armstrong, Rahal

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The issues started 25 minutes into observe because the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda of Rahal pulled out of the final nook and started slowing alongside the entrance straight of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit.

Because the Ohio native engaged the clutch to coast down the entrance straight, he reported “one thing isn’t proper” over the radio earlier than including “it’s letting go” in reference to the brand new engine that was put in forward of the weekend.

He got here to a cease on the finish of pit exit, bringing out the pink flag earlier than being towed again to the storage space to endure an engine change.

Rahal confessed to listening to one thing off on the exit of Flip 13 earlier than making the decision to cease.

“I did one upshift and I clutched instantly as a result of I might inform,” Rahal mentioned. “However we’ll see. These are new engines. We’ve acquired to see what the problems are.

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“Sadly, there’s clearly one thing happening, however Honda has performed a beautiful job all yr at HRC and I really feel like they have been pushing the boundaries.

“We’ll see what the remainder of the Could has in contact, nevertheless it’s type of unlucky for the 2 of us to not even get any operating this morning.”

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Picture by: Penske Leisure

When the session resumed shortly after, an enormous cloud of smoke was seen coming from the pit field of Armstrong as a noticeable hearth erupted from the again of his No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Whereas he was hesitant to verify, it was discovered from a group consultant that the New Zealander additionally had a brand new powerplant put in for the weekend.

“I felt a little bit of a vibration,” Armstrong mentioned. “They did not see something on the info, however you understand when there’s one thing not proper, so I simply boxed.

“I believe we might have saved it [the car]. If I stored going, we would not have had a hearth extinguisher or something on the market.”

Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Though the issues unfold throughout two totally different drivers on separate groups simply minutes other than one another, Rahal doesn’t consider a conclusion needs to be reached on the brand new Honda powerplant simply but.

“I believe it is too early to say that,” Rahal mentioned. “It’s fairly early solely being on my second actual flying lap of the entire day.

“It is too early to panic proper now. Let’s have a look at how the remainder of this session shapes up for us.

“The main focus goes to be simply to attempt to get an engine in to make the subsequent session as a result of clearly, you do not wish to go into qualifying with out having run in any respect at present.

“However on this morning’s session as cool as it’s, I do not know the way a lot you may have the ability to take from this. It is cool proper now. The metrics that we acquired mentioned the tire was more durable this yr on the [primary] than final yr. I do not know if that is true.

“It seems just like the tire’s acquired various grip, so it’s going to simply be attention-grabbing to see, however I do not assume you may take quite a bit from the beginning of this session. It is cool.”

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Picture by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

And Rahal is keen to get issues proper because the IMS highway course has turn out to be one in all his higher tracks, with three runner-up finishes – together with final August – plus 12 prime 10s and 84 laps led in 15 begins.

“We like this place,” Rahal mentioned. “We have performed nicely right here and we’re all the time assured right here. I like this observe. I like coming to Indy, clearly. I like the GP and I simply hope that we are able to get the Fifth Third Financial institution automobile up entrance once more.

“Final yr, I nonetheless have some nightmares about, concerning the second race [in August] and shedding to [Scott] Dixon right here. I believe that is the [second] time he is beat me right here. I’ve had three second locations right here. I simply cannot appear to recover from the hump.

“This yr, hopefully, we are able to get it performed. We acquired one shot at it. Hopefully we are able to do it tomorrow.”

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