NASCAR Goes on a Low-Carb Diet
Sprint Cup Series teams participate in NASCAR-controlled electronic-fuel-injection tests.
Andy Bolig - October 20, 2011 11:05 AM
Several teams tested EFI at Kentucky Speedway in July and recently at Phoenix International Raceway. Other teams will test on Thursday at Talladega Superspeedway and on Oct. 31 at Martinsville Speedway. After using carburetors since its first race in 1949, NASCAR will race with electronic fuel injection for the first time next year.
Monday's day-long test at Charlotte Motor Speedway featured four Chevrolets from Hendrick Motorsports, two Chevys from Stewart-Haas Racing and one Chevy each from Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Ganassi-Sabates Racing. Michael Waltrip and Joe Gibbs Racing each fielded one Toyota, and Roush-Fenway Racing fielded a single Ford.
"This is one way to put the 'stock' back in stock-car racing," said Roush Yates engine-builder Doug Yates, who led an information session about EFI. "This is a good step for us. We're stepping into the forefront of technology, which is really exciting for me. It's important [for] the engineers and people who're attracted to the sport, and even for a different fan base that could be attracted. This is the best of both worlds."
Reigning Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, in the No. 6 Ford from Roush-Fenway, led the session at 189.793 mph. Nationwide Series points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also spent time in the RFR car. Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top five in the session.
After 18 months as a driver-in-waiting, Kahne finally got seat time in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet. He was named in 2009 as the replacement driver for when Mark Martin leaves Hendrick after this season. In the meantime, Kahne spent the rest of 2009 with Richard Petty Motorsports and has raced this year for Team Red Bull.
"There were more differences than I expected," Kahne said of his first laps in a Hendrick-prepared Chevrolet. "But, then, I thought back to Red Bull and how much different that was from the prior year [at Petty]. It's all little things, but they keep adding up and it kind of takes time to figure out that feel."
McLaren and Freescale Semiconductor will produce the engine-control units required for NASCAR's electronic fuel injection; teams will buy the $25,000 systems from McLaren. NASCAR has expressed confidence that it can keep each team's EFI system "cheat-proof."
1. Trevor Bayne/Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 28.452 seconds (189.793 mph)
2. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 28.620 (188.679)
3. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 28.707 (188.107)
4. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 28.767 (187.715)
5. Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 28.847 (187.195)
6. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 28.895 (186.884)
7. Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 28.923 (186.703)
8. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 28.995 (186.239)
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 29.011 (186.136)
10. Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 29.029 (186.843)
11. Joey Logano/Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 29.056 (186.848)