Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Toyota joins Chevrolet in agreeing to a swift engine changeover to fuel injection for 2010 Daytona 500, if NASCAR gives the go-ahead

  Toyota racing boss Lee White (R) and team owner Joe Gibbs (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)


   By Mike Mulhern

   BRISTOL, Tenn.

   Toyota's Lee White, head of the car maker's NASCAR operations, votes 'Yes' with Chevrolet officials about replacing stock car racing's vintage engine carburetors with more high-tech fuel injection, and White says it could easily be "implemented across the board in all three divisions (Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup) by next February at Daytona."
   "Yes, I'm in favor of it," White said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I would vote for it, absolutely, without question."
   White, like Chevy's Pat Suhy, says a changeover could be done very quickly.
   "Any competent engine builder could go to Wolfgang Hustedt (motorsports manager for Bosch) and buy a controller and 10 injector nozzles and have it running in a couple of days, and have it ready to rock and roll in a couple of weeks.
   "It's very easy to do, and it's very inexpensive to do.
   "And if it's done correctly, there could be a revenue stream for NASCAR – because they could control and lease the units (to the teams)."  
   Why fuel injection? Why now?
   "I think, if you want my opinion, that fuel injection is one of two or three things that NASCAR could consider, in conjunction with the four manufacturers – who are important to get engaged in the discussion – that could lower costs," White said.
   "I don't want to lobby in the media for anything, but there are some things that could be considered, that could lower costs, improve competition, and potentially appeal to a new and younger audience – and give us a chance to grow this sport over the next decade, rather than watch it erode by double-digit numbers as it has the last two.
   "I'm not talking about attracting new car makers (like BMW and Honda); I'm talking about attracting people in the grandstands. And to do that, you'll have to appeal to a younger audience – who turn on a computer every day, who have never heard of a carburetor.
   "Fuel injection could be an integral part of that, along with several other things I have in mind…though I'm not prepared to lobby for them away from the other manufacturers and NASCAR."
   Two weeks ago NASCAR officials held a private meeting with a handful of NASCAR Sprint Cup team owners and engine builders about the future of the sport, over the next five years or so. But the four manufacturers apparently weren't included, for some reason. However Toyota engine men Mark Cronquist and John Deisinger were at the meeting.
    "Because fuel injection would manage fuel much more efficiently, you can paint it green," White said.
   "And you could run this system with plates (currently used to slow speeds at Daytona and Talladega)."
    Among the pluses:
    "Everyone right now is spending an absolute fortune on something that has zero application in real life, with these carburetion systems…an insane amount of money," White says.
   "Just watch these cars go into the first turn and look at all (unused) fuel belching out the tailpipes….that's wasted fuel.You could eliminate about 90 percent of that with fuel injection.
   "So there's a definite benefit."
   NASCAR took 11 top engines from Michigan to its Charlotte R&D shop. That would have been a good opportunity to check out fuel injection.
   "NASAR is really early in deciding which (fuel injection) system…there are a lot of systems out there, and it would be very easy to pick the wrong one," White said. "So I would encourage NASCAR to get engaged with the manufacturers.
    "I would say at least 10 different systems are being sourced by teams, bolted on engines and being run. And the one being used the most is one that almost anyone can cheat – traction control, rev limiting.
     "Now being engaged with the teams (about this particular issue) may be logical for NASCAR, and comfortable. But the four manufacturers in this sport are going to survive or die over the next couple of decades based on their ability to go green. It's being mandated by the U.S. government. We have to do that.
   "Look at all the stuff GM and Ford and Fiat-Chrysler are coming out with. So these car makers ought to be holding hands with NASCAR over this."
   How much would be obsoleted?
   "We're not talking about a new engine, we're not talking about new blocks or new heads, or even changing the manifolds….nobody could afford that," White says.
   "You can certainly do things with the existing architecture that could reduce costs, increase durability, decrease horsepower – and that would make for better racing, because everyone agrees that reducing horsepower would make for better racing.
   "And we could make this more appealing to a broader, younger audience, and give us some longevity over the next decade.
   "And I speak from experience -- In my 40 years I've seen Trans-Am come and go, I've seen Formula 5000 come and go, I've seen Can-Am come and go, I've seen IMSA come and go….I've seen CART go from where it thought it was going to take over the world from Formula One and now it doesn't even exist any more.
   "Honestly, if we don't think about those things – when we're losing double-digit numbers in TV and in the grandstands – we need to think about where the sport is going to be in 10 years.
   "There's a lot of room for us to talk here…and fuel injection is just part of it.
   "This would improve the relevance of what we do here, compared to what is out on the road. So we would be foolish not to be in favor of this.
   "I also think there are other things that could be implemented too that would make it where in five years we could actually be racing products that are more production-related, more relative to what we drive on the street – which would make this more appealing to a broader audience.
   "To appeal to those people 15 to 20 years old right now, I think this would matter – that this have some relevance to real life."
   Addendum, from Lee White:
   "In a discussion on the subject of implementing fuel injection systems in NASCAR competition at some point in the future, I inadvertently mentioned that unburned fuel from NASCAR race cars contained lead residue and could potentially affect the audience. That comment was a mistake and could not further from fact…..NASCAR moved all the major touring series away from using leaded racing fuel several years ago and transitioned exclusively to Sunoco unleaded gasoline – just like you purchase at a local service station – and thus there is no issue with lead in any way.
    "Hopefully any change to NASCAR's engine induction will only come after careful analysis by NASCAR in which they determine it is in the  best interests of NASCAR racing, the fans, the teams, the sponsors and the manufacturers."


  Toyota's Lee White (L) and J. D. Gibbs, who runs Joe Gibbs Racing (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)





The last thing Nascar needs

The last thing Nascar needs to do is start something new with engines!

They cannot "even it up" with the competition between the brands, unless you are a GM or Chevy Fan Nascar currently is not your sport!
Hendrick regardless of how good the team is doing or found a advantage is a Chevy dominating Nascar for years, before him RCR,Gibbs before he left and DEI,just because RCR is not runing as good as Hendrick doesnt hold water that Nascar should not even it up, it is the same old status quo Chevy gets to dominate and when the others try to out run them Nascar is quick to change rules, lets see Bill Elliot in 1985, 2000 Daytona 500, for expample, they sure dont mind hurting the other brand teams when they start winning, Bud Moore for instance could not catch Elliot in 1985 but they sure didnt mind slapping speed reducing penalties on his brand in order to let Jr Johnson and Darrell Waltrip win most of the races who never were restricted but domintated the sport in the eighties!

All this will do is give the bigger teams another advantage, and also will create more problems and cheating!

Look it doesnt matter what engine builders or manufacterers want! If they are looking to make the race car more like the real car then look to front wheel drive!

Why spend time with something that nit picky like having fuel injection and waste time with it when it will not help fans who they need to be catering to!

If they really want to spend their time doing something that the race fans could benefit and they can do that is even it up!Even GM fans are complaining that with total domination their is really no incentive for them to go either!

Remember too, that the Bowtie

Remember too, that the Bowtie boys had fuel injection and a stock 346 cubic inch LS1 Chevrolet V8 engine used in the American Speed Association in 2000. Jimmie Johnson and others tested those engines in the late 1990's, and Gary St. Amant won the 2000 ASA title on just one engine for all 20 races.

That developmental series was on its way until MTV got ahold of the CBS Cable operations and shut the Charlotte operations down (CBS owned 25% of the ASA at the time), and the ASA sued MTV. MTV's betrayal of racing led to the beginning of the downfall of the ASA, as it was sold and the new owners just didn't manage it right.

The ASA used fuel injection, mufflers, and catalytic converters. If done right, fuel injection could be used properly to cut horsepower in some cases -- a Holley single-barrel TBI system could easil cut horsepower and eliminate plates.

The "younger audience"

The "younger audience" argument is bunk because when you show them that carburators work and that obsoleting technology for no reason (which is what those who advocate fuel injection want to do) doesn't make sense, they'll accept carburated technology. If they're concerned about declining popularity, they're looking at the wrong issues - the sport needs more leaders, more lead changes (50 a race is supposed to be the norm, never the exception), more winners (yes, we're seeing some of that this year, and we need even more of it), and more overall ferocity in the competition. Carbs work and are easier to police than fuel injection. Period.

i agree. this fuel injection

i agree. this fuel injection thing, coming out of the clear blue, makes little sense to me, just busy work, to be honest. good action on the track, like we're seeing (finally, again) here at bristol, is just what this sport needs....and some more characters. love him or hate him, kyle busch gets your attention. but then maybe this whole fuel injection thing is more to keep the new GM bosses and the new Chrysler bosses interested in NASCAR....and even Toyota execs appear to realize their own product is too bland.....me, i'd just like to see the price point for a good sponsorship back down to $10 million a year. I'm hearing the real reason Lowe's is backing out of the track sponsorship in Charlotte is that it knows the sponsorship dollars Jimmie Johnson will command when that contract comes up for renewal is going to be a very big check to write...particularly if JJ wins number four.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com