Berube's team at GM Racing, along with their partners at Ilmor Engineering, is determined to spoil Honda's plans. The mid-range power produced by Honda's single-turbo 2.2-liter V6 has helped its drivers to dominate the five street course races held since Indy, giving Chevy's R&D staff a clear target to hit for Houston.
“You have to do a little bit of self-reflecting on prior races that we haven't won,” Berube explained. “What we have is an after-action review after every race where we didn't do as well as we wanted to and basically dig into what were the differences and what can we do about them.”
Chevy has plenty of teams and drivers that are capable of winning in Houston, as does Honda, and both would like to see their Race To 10 receive more recognition for the drama it generates and the importance it holds for two of the series' most important stakeholders.
“I think it's an opportunity that IndyCar could and should take advantage of,” Berube continued. “The championship within the championship. Formula 1 regularly talks about the Constructors' championship. Not that we want to take anything away from the Drivers' championship, which obviously is prestigious, but I look at it more as an opportunity for IndyCar to have more things to talk about. It is another form of competition.”
“I absolutely agree,” said Griffiths. “And the other thing I'd like to see a little bit more emphasis on or a little maybe change is the way the points are scored for the Manufacturers' championship. Right now, with just two manufacturers, you're trading wins. Whilst it's great, there's no bonus for filling the podium or if you've got the top five spots in the race. Both Honda and GM have had that on occasion.
“Right now, it doesn't matter whether you've got the top five. If the other manufacturer is sixth, they score second place points. So really it is the Race To 10, it's first to get there, but there should be points incentives for when a manufacturer does something extraordinary.”
If it's possible, Berube and Griffiths would like to avoid a Manufactures' title crapshoot at the season finale in Fontana and get things done this weekend.
“Personally, I'd really like to get it wrapped up before we go to Fontana because I think if it comes down to a race at Fontana that we've got to be going into that as the underdog rather than the favorite,” Griffith's admitted. “But you never know. I mean, I didn't expect to win on the Pocono oval, but we did.”
Berube and this writer had a good laugh when he was posed with an intentionally daft final question to answer: since Chevy won the 2012 Manufacturers' title and the 2013 Indy 500, would he, in the name of balance, mind if Honda took home this year's Manufacturers' crown?
“Hell no...this isn't Little League!” he said. “I don't think Roger [Griffiths] would want us to stand down either. And again, it means more when you beat someone who's difficult to beat. And we're certainly not going to let up just because we got Indy this year. The more the both of us are extremely competitive then the more each win means something. I truly believe it.
“Honda ought to feel happy having [caught] us, we were the ones to beat. And now they've turned the tables and we need to beat them. So that's our intention.”