Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Voice of Vito · Vito Pugliese · Friday August 28, 2009
Progress and change. Both are touchy subjects, and, more often than not, have no bearing or influence on the other. One can fly in the face of tradition while the other may support and reinforce it. I’ll spare you the political diatribe (for now) however, and cut to the chase where in NASCAR, the opportunity to make some gains may be on the horizon.
On Thursday, our own Jeff Meyer in his Voices From The Heartland column, wrote a piece detailing the recent rumor that fuel injection may replace the tried and true carburetor in NASCAR competition. Jeff’s opinion was it was an answer in search of a legitimate question, and that it was yet another example of a tradition in NASCAR being cast aside in the name of, “improving” the sport. On Wednesday in our Mirror Driving segment, a few of us also debated the pros and cons of such a drastic change to the induction system that has seemingly worked so well for over 50 years.
While many oppose the thought of abandoning the iconic Holley four-barrel carburetor for computer controlled fuel injection, I think it is a change worth exploring for a number of reasons.
First of all, outside of the trucks on Monster Jam as seen just about every day on SPEED TV, NASCAR is just about the only major racing series left that runs carburetors. Even NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars that still utilize the basic Chrysler 426 Hemi architecture have a fuel injection set up. Does that mean carburetors have no place in racing? No, not at all – the Pro Stock division still uses them.
However, when the argument against using fuel injection comes around to it being far too costly and complex, it doesn’t hold water. Formula One, IndyCar, Grand Am, and the American LeMans Series just to name a few have been using fuel injection for decades without incident. The reliance on 50-year old technology (albeit proven and sound technology) has been one of the knocks against NASCAR. To be at the forefront of motorsports in North America, it may serve well that the vehicles used in competition share something a bit more than just headlight and tail light decals with those in our garages.
Which brings me to my next point, and the reason why motorsports existed in the first place; developing useful parts and pieces that can be implemented into production.
I remember back in the early 1990s, Ford had an ad touting that the Thunderbird achieved its impressive low-drag coefficient and, “cross-wind stability”, through the development of its namesake in NASCAR competition. When was the last time something from NASCAR worked its way onto the street? About the last thing I can remember were the handful of Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupes and Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2s of the late 1980’s that made their way onto the streets. Dale Earnhardt’s Lumina that he won championships six and seven with bore very little resemblance whatsoever to the one my mom had – and that I unceremoniously plowed head-on into a guardrail with.
It’s time for auto racing and NASCAR in particular to start implementing the sorts of things that will pay dividends to the public, as they once did in the past. Disc brakes, rear view mirrors, three-point harnesses, independent suspensions – all basic things we take for granted today, were birthed from auto racing and motorsports competition. By bringing fuel injection into the mix, the manufacturers would have more of a vested interest in producing power plants that would bear some kind of fruit that may be derived someday for the showroom.
Manufacturers have had little motivation to develop new engines over the last 40 years to compete against each other. During the late 1960s when the horsepower wars had reached a crescendo, there were cars and engines being developed on a yearly basis – car and engines that reached the street and today are some of the most valuable and memorable machines of their kind.
While we likely will never be privy to a time like that again, there is no reason that motorsports can’t serve as a test bed once again for cars you and I will purchase in the future.
There is another issue that is becoming readily apparent these days in NASCAR as well: these cars are going ridiculously fast. Engines today are now nudging north of 900 horsepower, using just 358 cubic inches to get there. Dodge has recently unveiled their new engine this year, and Ford is preparing to start competing with their new FR9 design. Couple this with a new top-heavy car that doesn’t like to turn, has little downforce, and a tire that was designed originally for cars making nearly 1/3 less power, and the equation looks a bit sloppy to say the least. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the competition lately at the 1.5-2.0 mile tracks; less than compelling.
When I sat with Mark Martin for an interview back in June at Michigan International Speedway, I asked him if racing would ever be like it was during what we both considered, ”the good old days” of the modern era – the early to mid 1990s. He sounded less than optimistic – even by his standards – for a return to that quality of racing. Part of that was attributed to how fast the cars are going these days, and the aerodynamic issues that have arisen from that.
Might it be time to downsize these engines and cut some power?In the past, that has always been done through the use of a tapered spacer or the dreaded carburetor restrictor plate.
One look at the Nationwide Series shows why that is not an option – the racing there has suffered immensely, in a car that has plenty of downforce, but has poor throttle response and precious little power to get off the corners. Fuel injection and a smaller engine may be the way to curb those ills, yet maintain a reasonable level of power and responsiveness. If there is one thing the IROC series showed us at places like Michigan and Atlanta, you need not have 900 horsepower to make for an exciting race.
So after touching on the pieces that affect manufacturer and consumer interests, as well as the competition side of things, there is one more piece to this puzzle that I think makes a strong argument for making the move to fuel injection from carburetion – the environmental impact.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not some Ed Begley, Jr. eco-nut job pedaling my trike car to work, erecting a wind farm in my backyard, or recycling my used toilet paper. My last five cars have been three musclecars and a pair of SUVs, one of which right now would have qualified for the CARS (i.e., Cash for Clunkers – a term I resent. There is nothing clunky about a small-block Mopar, so shut up.) program.
Unfortunately, the prospected of increased scrutiny is a legitimate concern, from many of our elected officials and those who carry influence in these circles regarding the consumption of fossil fuels and the manner in which they are used. Let us also not forget that those same officials now have a vested interest in two of the Big Three automakers who compete in NASCAR. It would not hurt to at least offer the perception that a conscious effort is being made to join the 21st century. Like any business that has investors, a case needs to be made for viability, sustainability, and return on investment.
Having seen motorsports budgets neutered and advertising budgets slashed to the point of virtual elimination in recent months, it would be a wise move to anticipate and overcome the objections that may be soon forthcoming.
For as old-school cool and dependable as carburetors have proven, it is not as efficient or clean as computer controlled fuel injection would be. A collection of springs, screws, and floats can only achieve so much. Fuel sloshes around in carburetors in the corner and that is fuel wasted. Improved fuel economy and reduced emissions are just a side benefit of the reduced risk to the drivers from breathing in carbon monoxide fumes of unburned hydrocarbons.
I’m not saying you have to throw a catalytic converter on these things, but it serves to show one more benefit from using technology that is readily available and relatively inexpensive.
Back during the mid 1980s when I was becoming car conscious, it was during the second coming of the musclecar era. Buick Grand Nationals, IROC-Z Camaros, and Mustang GT’s were all the rage. Many however decried these new cars because they utilized electronics and computer controlled fuel injection, claiming you, “couldn’t work on ‘em.” 25 years later, that all sounds so very naive and silly; a multi-billion dollar industry and two magazines were devoted to tweaking the 5.0L Mustang alone.
I think the same parallels can be drawn regarding the argument against a similar switch in NASCAR. I understand the concerns over costs and the fear of making it easier to police cheating, or having the ugly specter of traction control rear its ugly head again, as it did seven or eight years ago. There might be an added cost, but nowhere near as great as switching over to an entirely new car, or adding more dates to the schedule.
The benefits far outweigh the costs in this application, and these are just a few I have room here to list in detail. The big thing for me is, these are still called stockcars – and for the last ten years or so, the only thing stock about them has been the vain attempt at maintaining brand identity through window shapes and appliqués of head lamps and tail lights. With the advent of the CoT, even that has been lost in the last couple of years. By reintroducing some semblance of street sourced significance or assembly line destined improvement brought about by racing, we can just maybe put the, “stock” back in stockcar, preserving and promoting the sport and its benefits beyond marketing, advertising, and self promotion.
Hey, at least we would finally get rid of those restrictor plates for Daytona and Talladega.
©2000 - 2008 Vito Pugliese and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Yes! Thank you Vito, I completely agree!
The only reason fuel injected street cars are more emissions friendly (just talking fuel injection here, not EGR and catalytic converters, etc.) is that they are set up to run a 14.7 Air/Fuel Ratio. O2 sensors are put in place down the exhaust pipes on both sides of the cat to make sure the engine is running as close to a 14.7 AFR as possible. A true burn at 14.7 emits zero CO (carbon monoxide). But an AFR of 14.7 is by no means the correct ratio for making the most power. For my ’94 Trans Am, the best ratio is much richer at 12.2.
So I have to reprogram my computer,as well as change to a hotter running thermostat (typical car engines run hotter than is optimal for power, but ideal for emissions) in order to pass California smog laws. So when it comes to a race car, as I have already done to a small degree in my street car, is change it all to gain max power. Yeah, the car does produce more emissions, but I also get better gas mileage… as long as I don’t take advantage of the added power. I average 30 MPG with an American muscle car that came stock with 270 HP and has been bumped up to 350 HP (through various mods). But I can easily drop that down to about 10 MPG if I spend the day racing it.
So unless NASCAR were to mandate a 14.7 AFR, add catalytic converters, and the rest of the emissions equipment, don’t even bother to try to say the cars are going to produce less emissions. They’ll still want the same AFR they run now when at wide open throttle. So the same AFR via a carb or an injector still produces the same amount of emissions. The only thing injectors will do is save some fuel. But it will be such a small percent that it probably won’t even be noticeable. Not to mention that the massive injectors they would need run (most likely 2 per cylinder) don’t work that great at low RPMs… resulting in worse MPG, basically the fuel being sprayed is so much that the signal to open the injector to spray fuel is happening at almost the exact time the signal being sent to close it… thus the reason why 2 (or more) injectors would be needed per cylinder when at low RPMS, and then only 1 injector would be used per cylinder. BTW, the reverse of this is true too, very high RPMs result in the open/close signal being sent at almost the same time, thus the need for multiple large injectors. Granted, the racing world has already figured this out.
(BTW, anyone know the BSFC of a Cup car?)
So the whole notion that changing to fuel injection is better for the environment is ridiculous. Yeah, it may be a percent or two better, but not enough to warrant the change.
People really need to do their research when it comes to the “Going Green”. Most things, like almost all recycling, actually cause more pollution than it prevents. Corn grown ethanol produces a ton more harmful emissions from a vehicle than gasoline. 99% of paper that is made from trees is made from trees that were planted just for making paper from. So if you want more trees, use more paper and don’t recycle it. The list truly goes on and on about how all these supposedly environmental friendly things are actually worse for the environment. Hell, even organically grown fruits and vegetables are worse for the environment… and even have less nutritional value and since they can’t use synthetic pesticides, may actually use natural pesticides that are harmful to you. (DDT is a thing of the past.)
Do your research, I’m not making this up. “Green” is a new religion. Yeah, it sounds good, but most of it is actually worse than not going Green.
Anyways, back to NASCAR. Yeah, I think fuel injection could clear up the 20-30 car packs at ‘Dega and Daytona… but do you think NASCAR would ever want to change that? While I hate the 20 car wrecks that take out everyone I was cheering for, I think the 3 wide, nose to tail, racing is some of the most exciting auto racing in the world. So asking the impossible, if they could just get rid of the “Big One” and have the same racing at the plate tracks, that would be awesome.
As far as injection possibly producing new designs that would end up in the showroom, I really don’t see that happening. BMW, I’m not sure this was ever put in a production car though, actually built an engine that doesn’t need a starter. It looks to see which piston is ready to fire, sprays fuel in and sends power to the spark plug. Bam, gets the engine turning and then starts running normally. Pretty darn cool, and this was designed over 10 years ago.
The thing that drives me nuts about this whole fuel injection debate the most though is… FIX THE HANDLING OF THE COT FIRST! Then worrying about fuel injection might make a little more sense.
Vito, I think I might need my own column when it comes to this fuel injection debate. :)
Way to go Fred!! Finally someone speaks with knowledge instead of an agenda!! I will give Vito credit for creating controversy….I think that is his job!!…LOL
So many things, so little time,
Your “By bringing fuel injection into the mix, the manufacturers would have more of a vested interest in producing power plants that would bear some kind of fruit that may be derived someday for the showroom.”
C’mon now! You think that the NA$CRAP gang will “improve” on the current FI systems, over and abouve say, what the F-1 circuit is using? Using “product improvement” is lame, very lame!
If one looks at FI in it’s reality, it should be in NA$CRAP, it is long overdue in NA$CRAP,
It’s a technical detail!
(written by a guy that built all NA$CRAP carburetors for over ten (10) years)
But, as Fred mentions, FIX THE POS FIRST! Why put FI on a a slug? A certain Frontstretch writer here yesterday did everything but call the POS the greatest thing since canned beer.
Almost destroyed the credibility of all the frontstretch columns in one swoop! So be carefull what you say about the POS!
And Fred,, your summation is really, really good on fuel and fuel handling with a carburetor, and such.
But I am disappointed you never mentioned:
That would have people running to their dictionaries, blowing the dust off, doing some research!
AND! I for one am not convinced FI would eliminate the “pack mentality” at restrictor plate races! How would it do that? NA$CRAP would find a way to circumvent the FI control systems and put all the cars on the same level! Once the hood is closed, FI or Carburetor is transparent, (as far as speed/horespower of the car), engine HP will always be controlled by NA$CRAP at the speed tracks! Thus, the very same pack mentality!
And, I think if the truth be known, NA$CRAP loves the multi car pile-ups, JUST LOVES THEM!
It’s called “good news reel stuff”, which means publicity!
Thanks for your reply, I too have some experience in tuning modern musclecars. I understand that challenges that are presented with open/closed loop operation and the minimal improvemetns that might be gained throug emissions – however it is the preceived effort that might be more valuable for the time being. You know…work hard, the boss is coming?
The fact remains, every other racing series has had this figured out for the last 25+ years, so it isn’t like it’s not possible or would be hard to figure out. The technology exists and is being used in Grand Am. Robert Yates has said as much, and he probably knows more about this than even I do. Let’s face it – when I rebuilt an engine in shop class in high school, I had a handful of parts left over. I just tossed them in the oil pan and buttoned it back up, and sprayed it down with some degreaser to make it look pretty.
Hey Fred, sorry, I forgot to answer your earlier question I was so busy thinking other things.
Typically, at least when I was involved the BSFC (Brake Specific Fuel Consumption)of a race engine was 1.0/1.2 range. But that is from memory long, long, ago.
And of course each CUP car engine builder would NEVER EVER let that secret out! And as well, it is a meaningless figure in the overall scheme of things! At least to the fan!
(I used to write, or help write the updates to the Holley manuals) as written by my boss Mike Urich.
Vito, in trying to keep my lengthy post as short as possible, I only wrote one line about other racing series having already figured out fuel injection. So yeah, I don’t think it would take too much effort to put it in a Cup car… except for hiring the guys that know how to do it. But it also goes against your case that it might bring new designs to the consumer market. It’s already been heavily implemented across most of the racing world, I highly doubt NASCAR would bring a revolutionary design to the table.
The whole concept of FI pretty much goes against what NASCAR is all about… keeping it to the basics. Granted we all know the saying that there isn’t anything “stock” in a stock car, but they have kept most of the actual parts “simple”. Yes, they are highly technically designed, for instance, tuning the harmonics to increase VE (volumetric efficiency, aka, the volume of air that can flow through an engine per one cycle). For those that don’t know, 100% VE would be 358 ci of air, and Cup cars are achieving over 110%… basically more than a typical muscle car with a mild turbo. Typical really good VE on a beefed up muscle car is about 90%. So Cup cars basically have forced induction engines without the forced induction. Pretty cool stuff without throwing a turbo or supercharger on it.
But my point being is that while the cars use a lot of technology to design them, they aren’t using the technology in the cars. Simply put, they are still Analog cars in a Digital world. Why open up Pandora’s Box at this point in poor economic times? Sounds more like spin doctoring to give the media something to talk about… other than the poor racing.
LOL Douglas, :) I could have gone into details about quite a few things (like I just brought up VE), but I didn’t want to write a book. :) Thanks for giving me an estimate about the BSFC. I was curious to know what size injectors they would need. Add in a few more ponies gained in the past few years and they are probably looking at something like 150# injectors. Not nearly as large as I originally thought they would need. But factoring in their over 100% VE, they very well may need way larger injectors. I’m rather curious to know. I’m actually trying to pick out new ones for my car right now, because they are my current bottle neck and I haven’t even added headers yet. :)
As far as FI breaking up the packs at the plate tracks, my thought as to why it would work would be that they wouldn’t lose the throttle response like they do with the plates. But I easily could be wrong about that. But as I just mentioned, injectors that are too small are my current bottleneck, yet my throttle response is fine. Granted, I haven’t maxed my speed out while drafting and then checked it out. :) But while I do think they obviously will still have to draft in packs, I imagine throttle response would be better because nothing is actually getting “choked” and they would be able to pull out and pass by themselves again. Who knows for sure until they try it though?
Anyways, like I stated before, why even bother with FI until they fix the COT?
Hell, it was supposed to eliminate the aero-loose racing killing condition. My theory on that is that they still have the cars yawed (crab crawling, as it was nicknamed) to the max that NASCAR allows them. Thus they rely heavily on the right rear side panel, and that little bit of wing. Put a yawed car on the inside of another one, and that takes that air away… thus you still have the aero-loose condition. I think they need to test out the racing with zero, or maybe even opposite yaw and see how it is. Just a theory, but it seems pretty sound to me.
Man, debating about what’s wrong with NASCAR is actually funner than watching the races these days. :)
Hey Fred, as regards “throttle response”!
“Throttle Response” is not an issue in NA$CRAP at the restrictor plate tracks!
THE FOOT IS TO THE FLOOR EACH AND EVERY LAP!
There is no using the throttle throughout any green flag run, as they throttles are held to the floor. Lap, after lap, after lap!
Actually, every once in a while, you will see on the TV a car suddenly getting freigh-trained by a pack of cars! Then the announcers will come on and state that the driver being passed had to “get out of the gas for an instant to avoid “something”, and that particular car will take a few laps to get the car back to max speed, all becuse he simply lifted for an instant, and lost momentum!
And momentum is what these cars run on, flat out! Pedal to the metal!
And yes, this is more fun than watching! But who does that anymore?
I was under the impression that at the plate tracks, a car tucked in behind another car could actually lift his foot a tad, while the car in the lead needed to be floored.
Is this not the case with the COT? With added aero drag of the COT, it would seem that the tucked in cars would be able to lift the throttle even more than they used to be able to.
I’ve also wondered if they have even tested driving the COT without a plate at ‘Dega or Daytona. Those bulldozers may not need the plates to slow them down any more… or they’ll actually have enough speed to have some down force. I think it falls into the category of something else NASCAR needs to add to their list of things to at least try with the COT.
BTW, I actually think the best NASCAR on TV is the rain delay coverage. The non-scripted interviews make for way more entertainment than all but a “move” or two of the races. :)
No on the drafting thing, the way it works is if your “in the draft”, BOTH cars pick up speed, so neither has to lift! If the car behind does get a “forward tow”, he simply bumps the car ahead so both then can go the same speed. Thus the term, “bump-drafting”! “Bump-drafting accomplishes two things, 1) accelerates the car ahead, 2) brakes the car behind to the speed of the lead car.
RARELY! and it does happen, the car behind might lift a bit! But only if something downtrack is happening and he wants to “be safe”, but this happens rarely!
And as far as testing the POS w/ restrictor plate, I don’t think they have ever tested the POS at all! Sure performs on the track like they didn’t anyway!
(just kidding), but rememeber, during the POS testing stage, EVERYONE that drove it wanted changes!
But none were forthcoming!
305 cubic inches; maybe we dump the plates too as a result.
LOL, I agree… I don’t think that they have tested the COT for anything other than safety. Which I will give it credit for being a way safer car. But that’s about the only thing good I have to say about it.
I remember Kurt Busch driving a COT during Daytona 500 practice in 2007. But I dont remember if he had a plate on it or not. I do remember NASCAR did test the COT at Daytona and Talledega and they were still too fast without plates. However, because the new car is wider and taller, NASCAR was able to increase the holes in the plate to give the cars more acceleration, while still limiting them to around 190-195 MPH.
Put the stock back in Nascar. Make them run actual stock production V8’s with actual production fuel injection setups. The production blocks would bring down horsepower by not being able to handle the stresses of 900+ horsepower and the fan could go into the showroom on Monday and buy a vehicle with the same engine package that wins on Sunday.
Let them stuff whatever aftermarket or custom built parts into the stock block, but make them stick to the geometry that is in the stock production engine. No more race only engines based on a set of Nascar specs that have no resemblance to what is run on the street.
The dirty little secret in Nascar that most fans don’t know is that the engines in use since Toyota came in are race only and designed from a common set of specs that cover all manufacturers. There is no stock in Nascar these days and I can’t figure out why the Big Three still pony up the bucks.
I think going to Fuel Injection is as much to give the public the view that this form of racing is moving along with technology, plus there can be better diagnosics (sensor, injector, ignition system, etc), so you should see more reliable and consistant cars (in the long term). There may be teething issues in the beginning, but altermately, the cars should run slightly lower fuel consumption and high reliability.