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That brand new Roush-Yates NASCAR engine does just fine in its long-awaited debut...but maybe NASCAR needs to hook up with Roush and add more air flaps, to keep these cars from flying

   The remains of Ryan Newman's car, being examined by NASCAR inspectors. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   At long last the NASCAR world finally got a peak at that new Ford engine, the FR9, after so many months of mystery. And it performed
quite well in Matt Kenseth's car and David Ragan's.
   In fact Kenseth helped push winner, and teammate, Jamie McMurray to the front down the stretch and could have been part of a 1-2 Jack Roush finish, until Kenseth got caught up in a late race pileup.
    Roush's take on the new engine?
   "I was very confident for all the moving parts….though I had a little bit of a question about the valve train and the valve spring," Roush said.
   "But all the basic engineering that's gone into that engine has just been the best I've ever seen.
    "I was most nervous about that mechanically-driven fuel pump -- virtually all the teams that have gone to engines with these rear fuel-cell-mounted, cable-driven fuel pumps have had trouble. And I was just scared to death we'd break a chain, break a cable, or have trouble with that. But the fuel pump worked good. 
   "The engine did what it might. We've got to work on getting it as lean (for better fuel mileage) as we had the existing engine.  We weren't as lean. (A lean fuel mixture can burn a piston; a richer fuel mixture keeps the engine cooler.)
    "So we didn't quite get the fuel mileage out of Matt's car and David's. But that's not because of anything inherent in the engine.  That was
just my lack of confidence in what I was seeing -- to do what I thought I might do.
    "I'll be more confident and we'll be more aggressive with that when we go to Daytona."

   On the day's other technical front, with Ryan Newman's car flipping and flying in a late race crash, in an incident similar to what happened here in April with Carl Edwards, NASCAR might need to sign up Roush and his engineers to work on some new aerodynamic tricks to help keep these race cars on the ground.
   Roush was key in the development of the current roof flaps, which have done well usually in keeping cars from flying.
   However Newman has been vocal in calling on NASCAR to improve aerodynamics of these cars to keep them on the ground, and a Newman-Roush engineering group might well be needed.
   Roush says "The roof flaps are organized that when the car stays on the ground and turns counter-clockwise, as it starts to turn the roof flaps deploy, and the air foil that is formed as the wind sees the side of the car-- like an airplane wing (flap) -- it upsets that air foil and makes some
turbulence on the roof. 
    "I didn't see how Ryan Newman’s wreck started. I'm sure that he had impact with other cars that winded up launching him (which is what happened to Edwards).
    "The effect of the roof flap is just to stop it from becoming an air foil at up to 170 or 180 mph, before it starts to generate lift. 
    "But if the car gets force from another car, which was the case for Carl Edwards in the wreck we had in the spring here (and I'm sure that Ryan Newman had a force like that) – well, there's not much weight on the car…it's near zero at its best, even with the roof flaps deployed. And you could easily go airborne.
    "I haven't analyzed that wreck to see how it developed. But there has not been an instance that I'm aware of when the roof flaps have not functioned as they were intended to…where the car didn't have an impact of another car affecting the attitude."
    Nevertheless, the bottom line is Edwards car did get airborne, and Newman's car did get airborne, and Newman – an engineer himself – insists there must be some more tricks in the aerodynamic bag to prevent such launches.
    Sounds like a good off-season project for Newman and Roush together to work on.


Talledega and Daytona are

Talledega and Daytona are dinosaurs. the cars are too advanced for these tracks, and the Frances keep pushing the engineering effort at the owners and keep placing insane rules on the drivers. Restrictor plate racing is not a necessary evil -- fix the damn tracks or race somewhere else.

"Restrictor plate racing is

"Restrictor plate racing is not a necessary evil." You're wrong. It IS necessary and is NOT evil. What we saw at Talladega is 58 lead changes among 25 drivers, competitive depth nowhere to be found anywhere else. "The Frances keep pushing the engineering effort at the owners....." Now what does that mean? Are the Frances telling owners "You have to spend $1 million per week on engineering or else"? "....and keep placing insane rules on the drivers." That's not a restrictor plate issue; that's an issue of a sanctioning body that won't let go of control of the racing.

"Fix the damn tracks." For what? With drivers dying and getting badly hurt on smaller tracks and hardly anyone stubbing a toe on the plate tracks, you've fallen for the spectacle of the fiery explosion that, on closer inspection, does no serious damage. There's nothing to fix beyond driver attitudes.

Mike, the roof flaps are a

Mike, the roof flaps are a myth. They have NEVER done well keeping cars on the ground. This was painfully obvious in the very first Speedweeks that roof flaps debuted, such as Andy Farr's hit into Daytona's wall - I remember that Farr's hit pushed the impact portion of the wall back a few inches.

The sport needs to face that there is nothing beyond slowing the cars down more that will keep them on the ground. Roof flaps have failed; only a smaller plate has any potential to keep them on the ground.

Daytona and Talladega were

Daytona and Talladega were built during the 50s and 60s to race "Stock Cars" on. These tracks are too fast to race modern race cars on. We find NASCAR restricting the cars so much that it is like watching the cars on the freeway. It is time to bulldoze these artifact "Super Speedways" of the past and give the four "Cup" race dates to actual racetracks. Even Big Bill France would be embarrassed by the state of "Plate" racing.

One reason the cars are

One reason the cars are getting airborn is because of the rear wing.
Nascar needs to go back to the rear spoiler and then the roof flaps might do a better job.

It amazes me that no one at

It amazes me that no one at NASCAR bothered to put one of these cars in the wind tunnel backwards. If they had, this problem would have been identified and a solution pursued. Maybe the trunk needs to be part of the solution. A system that changes the angle of the wing in a reverse airflow situation. If not, no more races at Talladega. NASCAR has pushed the envelope for putting a car in the stands. Time has run out for safety of fans and drivers. After this race, time has run out on real racing at Talladega.

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