The RACER Mailbag, December 29

The RACER Mailbag, December 29


The RACER Mailbag, December 29


Q: Are IndyCar motors direct or port injected? Maybe both? I once saw a spy photo of a Honda engine that made me wonder if both techniques are used. When Gordon Murray designed his new supercar, he specified a port injected motor, because he claimed that PI produces more horsepower than DI. Or is all the magic (power and fuel economy) a product of engine mapping?

We lost an icon of motorsport with the passing of Jesse Alexander. About 15 years ago, I visited the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. By accident, I made a wrong turn in the museum and stumbled upon Jesse’s famous photo of Jim Clark. I was transfixed by the image and spent the next two hours viewing Jesse’s exhibition. I immediately bought a copy of “Driven” in the museum bookstore. It has been autographed by F1, IndyCar and IMSA drivers. None of them were able to simply sign the book and move on to the next fan — every driver took an extra few moments to leaf through it. His photography (his art) was that special. I only wish I had met him.

Jonathan and Cleide Morris, Ventura, CA

MP: I only met Jesse once, briefly, in 2005, and trust me, I’m usually not the type to get too wound up when I meet someone famous. Met Ric Flair. Thought to myself, “Cool.” Met Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. Thought, “Cool.” Met Jesse Alexander. Had no thoughts actually, because I was a mumbling fool who could barely compose an intelligible sentence. I left his little tent in a rush — didn’t want to scare him with my hero worship that came across as pure mindless idiocy.

As for fueling, both Chevy and Honda use 12 injectors per engine, with port- and direct injection. The port comes from atop the six intake trumpets that sit within the turbo plenum, and the other six fire directly into the combustion chamber. A friend who knows a lot on this subject says it would be hard to adequately fuel the engine with E-85 at the fuel flow rates they use if only DI was utilized.

Q: Will the “Indy Legends” shirts from here be available again? Any new info?



MP: Hi Randy, that was Robin’s business, so with his passing, I believe it’s gone as well.

IndyCar engines use a combination of direct and port injection. Motorsport Images

Q: I just wanted to add two controversial IndyCar finishes. First, the 1985 Sanair race when they went green in Turn 4 of the last lap. Pancho Carter passed JR for the win. Later the win was restored to JR. Second, the 1997 Texas race when a scoring snafu led to A.J. throwing Arie Luyendyk out of victory lane. The win was eventually awarded to Luyendyk, but I read that A.J. refused to return the trophy.

Wayne Smitreski, Allentown, PA

MP: Thanks for those, Wayne. By chance, our pit stall was directly across from victory lane in 1997, and while breaking down the first of our TKM/Genoa Racing pit equipment to carry down to our transporter, I happened to come across A.J. trying to bury Arie in the hedges. It was one of those things you see, but aren’t sure you’re seeing, and then when you find out who was involved, shrug your shoulders and go, “Yeah, that makes sense” and keep it moving.

Q: Really appreciated your story on Jesse Alexander’s passing — thank you for that. As an aspiring motorsports shooter, your words got me thinking: I wonder what gear Marshall uses? Or perhaps better asked, what gear works best for you?

If you’ve got the ear of THE NTT INDYCAR SERIES powers that be on this, please add my vote for more spring training sessions. I’m sure there’s economics involved and Monterey weather in Feb is sketchy — see 2019’s half-day rainout at Laguna Seca — but that half-day session was awesome! Easy to get around, access to photo areas we can’t get to on race weekends… even got hotlaps in the pace cars because somebody took pity on my wife’s broken foot and walking boot. Imagine that happening on race weekend!

Also spent some time with you and met SeaBass, as you guys were doing interview/podcast. Overall great time at the track, and some awesome pics I wouldn’t be able to get any other time. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Grant, Visalia, CA

MP: Well, I might have the series’ ear, but they’ve also got a lot of duct tape and keep sending it to me with notes that say, “Please apply over mouth.”

I’m with you here. I love test days more than practice days during race weekends. But I don’t see them returning in a group setting until we get to 2023 when the new hybrid engines appear.

On camera gear, I’ve been a Canon guy since I saved up $200 from bagging groceries at our local Safeway grocery store and bought a used A1 in 1986. These days, I use a now-old 1D X, and have a variety of lenses I purchased over a 10-12-year span. Thanks for asking. If I had my choice, I’d spend my days at the track shooting.