FONTANA, Calif. -- Like the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, the Manufacturer Championship came down to one race to decide it all. Chevrolet wound up having more pistons in the 250-lap race on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway to secure its second consecutive title.
Chevrolet and Honda entered the season finale tied with nine wins and 135 points (nine points are awarded for a victory and six for runner-up). Chevy accumulated 11 Verizon P1 Awards through the season, most recently Oct. 18 by Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. He went on to win the race -- his third of the season -- to get the clincher.
Chevrolet scored seven of the first 10 race wins, but Honda began surging starting at Pocono with six victories in the next eight races. Chevrolet earned the 2012 championship in its first year of competition since 2005 in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Click it: Andretti Autosport to switch to Honda power for 2014
In the finale, Honda had four of its 12 entrants eligible to score manufacturer points because of unapproved engine changes (surpassing the five engine allotment for the season). Chevrolet had all but championship contender Helio Castroneves of its 13 entrants eligible to score points.
"We are proud of the teamwork and dedicated efforts of our drivers, teams and technical partners that culminated in Chevrolet's second consecutive IndyCar Series manufacturer championship," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine gave our teams the right combination of power, fuel economy, and reliability that resulted in winning this prestigious award."
In 2014, both the Chevrolet and Honda will provide 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engines fueled by E85. Honda has utilized a single turbo since 2012.
"Honda has done a great job this season especially after bouncing back after the 500," said James Jakes, driver of the No. 16 entry for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. "There work ethic was second to none. Hopefully we can continue our relationship into the 2014 season and I'm really looking forward to trying the twin turbo."
Bourdais in front
Sebastien Bourdais led his first laps on an oval for the first time since Milwaukee in 2006. He led a total of 35 laps in the first half of the 250-lap MAVTV 500.
Bourdais, driving the No. 7 Honda-powered car, was competing in his final race for Dragon Racing. He's moving to KVSH Racing for the 2014 season.
“We had an awesome night. We were really fast," said Bourdais, whose car made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3 of Lap 230. "We were struggling really for the last 10 laps of the stint. We were getting bottled up in traffic so I was really trying to get in the lead and get some clear air.
"I knew if we had any chance finishing well I was going to come through that. I guess were just not quite fast enough to clear these guys. I wanted to keep my tires so I started to run up there when I started to fight with Charlie (Kimball). I had been running the bottom to get back there so I had used up my tires quite a bit. But the story of the night was strong runs.”
Wilson raises funds with ride for charity
Justin Wilson raised almost $1,400 by cycling 100 miles in the Dempsey Challenge last weekend in Maine in support of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, which provides free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer. The event raised more than $1.1 million.
“It is remarkable what Patrick (Dempsey) has done, and when he invited me to participate, I didn’t have to think twice,” Wilson said. “I really enjoy cycling, so to be able to get out to that part of the country and go for a ride, and raise some money and awareness for a great cause, it was a great opportunity. It was great fun riding and there were so many cool people supporting a great cause. Thank you to everyone who donated and helped to support the event.”
Firestone Racing's Aten to put away tire pressure guage
Firestone Racing senior specifications technician Lloyd Aten, who has been with the company for 45 years and is retiring on March 1, 2014, was working his final race.
Aten has been with the racing program engineering group since 1994 and written tire specs for literally hundreds of thousands of tires during that time. For the past 14 years, he has worked mainly with Team Penske on pit lane and been a part of three Indianapolis 500 victories, including the first for Helio Castroneves in 2001.
He again was working with Team Penske in Castroneves’ pit during the MAVTV 500. The Firestone brand is the official tire of the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing will be featured on"How It's Made" on the Science Channel at 9 p.m. (ET) Oct. 24 in a segment focusing on IndyCar steering wheels. ... Tony Kanaan made his 215th consecutive Indy car start. ... Vincent Venegas, a graphic artist from Racine, Wis., was selected from five finalists of the Graham Rahal Foundation helmet design contest to be painted on the helmet Graham Rahal wore in the race. The helmet will be auctioned at http://Celebrity.eBay.com to raise funds for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and SeriousFun Children's Network. ... Anne Fornoro, longtime publicist for A.J. Foyt Racing, was the recipient of the Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations. ... IZOD IndyCar Series team owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who won the 2012 race at Auto Club Speedway, was inducted into the speedway's "Walk of Fame."