NASCAR Goes Green
Under the Hood with Valvoline NextGen
Andy Bolig - October 21, 2011 09:44 AM
Used oil is better than crude for making new oil, and it goes through the same refining process. NextGen is advanced recycled oil that exceeds industry specs and matches Valvoline protection. And because it saves resources, it's better than new oilCredit: Nell Redmond/Feature Photo Service
Various steps were taken in the process to ensure the longevity and protection of these costly engines. One of the final steps was to run the engines in dyno cells to replicate the use they would see in a typical on-track scenario.Credit: Roush Yates Engines
This is done to make sure that there are no major issues with the oil that would cause severe damage to their $80,000 engines.
Ever wonder how new components and materials make their way into your favorite drivers’ cars? Well recently, Valvoline, the makers of NextGen recycled motor oil, showed us how they wowed skeptics and got their oil in the hands and engines of Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Racing and Don Schumacher Racing drivers.
It all begins in Mooresville, NC at the Roush Yates Engine facilities. You may not have heard of these guys, but odds are you’ve seen their work on race day. Roush Yates tests and builds engines for all thirteen Ford Sprint Cup teams and recently introduced the FR9 engine to racing (Ford’s newest engine in more than 30 years). To bring NextGen to the big stage, Valvoline approached the legendary engine builders this past spring and asked them to put their NextGen racing formulation to the test, in mid-season no less. What came next was a barrage of lab and on-track evaluations to compare how the recycled oil fared in some of the most demanding engines out there. Throughout an extensive four-month validation process, technicians and engineers at Roush Yates tested and retested the oil.
The first step was a spintron test. A spintron works by spinning the valvetrain, without introducing combustion to the mix. This is done to make sure that there are no major issues with the oil that would cause severe damage to their $80,000 engines.
Once the NextGen passed this test, it was sent off to the dynamometer (dyno). During this test an engine is placed on blocks and run while attached to the dyno to ensure that it reaches the minimum amount of horsepower required.
After about four hours on the dyno, NextGen is then sent off to AVL testing. This allows technicians and engineers to replicate what an engine goes through in specific races without leaving the testing facility.
After three simulated races, the engine is then torn down and components are inspected for wear.
In the final step, the engine is mounted into a racecar and run in actual races.
The results so far have been pretty impressive. Running NextGen, race teams have been posting some great times and recording some phenomenal wins. Just recently, Carl Edwards took the checkered flag at the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage in Charlotte last weekend with NextGen in his engine. And what’s great about going with recycled is that every win for these drivers is a win for the environment. For more information on NextGen and to see how you can get the same technology the pros use in your car, visit nextgen.valvoline.com.