INDIANAPOLIS – Chip Ganassi Racing sent shockwaves through the Verizon IndyCar Series on Friday when they announced that they will switch to Honda power beginning with the 2017 season. Ganassi, has done very well with Chevrolet since joining that manufacturer in 2014, but most of their success though has been with Honda, and they’re now going back.
With that being said, what does this mean for the rest of the IndyCar teams?
It honestly means a lot of key things.
First off, it means that there are now four Chevrolet engines available for any Honda team that wants to switch over. Chevy has by far been the superior engine since joining the series in 2012. They’re won 57 times compared to 27 with Honda during that time frame which equates out to 68-percent overall in the last five seasons. Plus, Chevy drivers have won 74-percent of the poles too with a Chevy team taking 64 of the 84 poles since the start of the 2012 season. In fact, a Honda driver has won just five poles since the start of the 2014 season.
So, the fact that there are four Chevy engines available means a Honda team or two may make the switch. Currently, among the 22 full-time cars that were on the grid in 2016, Honda would now have to supply 14 of them with Chevy having eight cars. I don’t know if Honda wants to have that many cars in their arsenal as it takes away resources from elsewhere.
Plus, think of it like this, Ganassi is going to be getting Honda’s top stuff which trickles down to meaning Andretti Autosport would get less. That in turn means Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing gets less as does Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, A.J. Foyt Racing and Dale Coyne Racing. So, I can see Coyne, Foyt or SPM wanting to kick the tires of making a switch to Chevy in the offseason.
Foyt has been with Honda all due to them getting assistance with keeping Takuma Sato employed. But, it appears Sato won’t be back with Foyt for 2017. and with Chevy having some openings, look for ole Tex to possibly make the switch.
I don’t think RLL will move because Graham Rahal has had a relationship with Honda through literally his whole racing career. Andretti doesn’t appears to want to move either so Chevy can honestly take on two more teams and Foyt, SPM and Coyne could be among them.
Then, this has an impact on the parity. It’s a good thing to have Penske vs. Ganassi on opposite manufacturers. With Chevy dominating the IndyCar world and both of the top teams with them, it wasn’t good for Honda. Now, Honda can close the gap even more.
From there, what does this do to Ganassi on the NASCAR side? Ganassi runs Fords in IMSA and now Honda in IndyCar. Would they want to run both of Honda/Ford’s rival in either series of Chevy in NASCAR? Ganassi may be making a switch to Ford now then.
So, as you can see, there’s a ton of dominoes left to fall with this move.