Three drivers from three different teams have earned a grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland, all stemming from unapproved engine changes.
Rinus VeeKay knew he had a penalty coming into the weekend, as his Ed Carpenter Racing team determined that he needed a new engine before travelling to the West Coast for the final three races.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing found out that Takuma Sato’s Honda needed to be replaced on Saturday morning, when he was not able to even put in a single fast lap in the first practice session.
Quick work by the crew ensured the popular Japanese driver was able to compete in qualifying, but it didn’t matter much as he will start from the near the back after his penalty.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was the third driver to experience engine issues, with his Andretti Autosport team also scrambling to replace his engine before qualifying.
They were not able to complete the job in time, however, and were not able to take the track at all in the knockout sessions.
All three engine changes fall outside the allotted number prescribed in the rules, thus resulting in grid drops for each driver.
With all three drivers ending qualifying near the rear of the order, the penalties move the trio to the final positions of the grid of the 27-car grid, making for a long day of fighting through traffic on Sunday.
All three drivers were able to take part in the final warmup practice session Saturday afternoon, and hope to have solved all the problems ahead of the 110-lap race.
The Grand Prix of Portland takes place Sunday at 12:30 PM local time, 3:30 PM Eastern Time, and will air on NBC.