INDIANAPOLIS – Just 29 laps into his Carb Day practice run, James Hinchcliffe blew an engine on his No. 5 Honda. What’s strange is the Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports driver just came out of his pit stall when the green flag came back out.
But, if this was a fluke occurrence, it would be one thing, but this is becoming a bad trend for Honda engines.
At Phoenix, they had eight cars with engine issues. At the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, they had two. Then, just this month alone for Indianapolis 500 practice and/or qualifying, they have now had seven engine issues.
That bodes the question, can these engines last 500 miles on Sunday?
Honda has the speed, that’s not being questioned. They have four of the top five starters in Sunday’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network) and 14 of the top 17.
In today’s final one-hour practice session alone, they had six of the top seven speeds.
So, that all goes back to my original question, Honda has the speed, but do they have the reliability?
Hinchcliffe, just got a new engine for today and this weekend. It lasted 29 laps. The bright side is he said his car was the best today than it’s been all month and he felt confident. He said this was supposed to be his one last run of they day and boom it blew.
Right now, it looks like they may not have the endurance to last all 500 miles at the speeds they’re going. It’s also likely too late to tune them down a bit too. Without anymore practice between now and Sunday, tuning them down would lead to failure because they don’t have any on track data to see how they’d compare to their Chevy counterparts.
Honda has a tough decision to make.