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Doug Yates: It's time for NASCAR to cut Sprint Cup horsepower, and to mandate a 'crate engine' standard to save the Truck tour

Doug Yates (R), with Bill Elliott (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

    BROOKLYN, Mich.
    Doug Yates, the engine-building wizard behind Jack Roush's racing success, and the son of stock car racing legend Robert Yates, says a NASCAR 'crate engine' standard for the Truck series "would be a great idea, that makes a lot of sense."
   It could make Truck racing much less expensive -- and perhaps even saving that series from collapse, now with General Motors joining Ford and Dodge in withdrawing from that NASCAR tour, leaving only Toyota.
   The Indy Racing League and Honda – that sport's sole engine supplier – have proven the crate engine concept is quite workable, and cost-effective, by cutting engine costs dramatically.
   A similar approach, Yates says, could easily work in NASCAR. And it may be an idea whose time has come here, because the Truck series and the Nationwide series are both plagued with economic and sponsorship woes.
   The NASCAR version being debated is this: that NASCAR's Truck series would have just one engine supplier – either Yates-Roush, or Rick Hendrick, or Richard Childress, or Roger Penske – and a 'spec' engine, built to a certain cost-effective price-point. That supplier (bids could be taken) would provide all the engines for Truck teams, with NASCAR playing a role in the random release of the various  motors to teams, similar to a random process used in handling Goodyear tires.
    The Truck engines could be 'badged' any way NASCAR would like, even to the point of putting the NASCAR logo on the valve cover gaskets.
    That might bring the cost of fielding a Truck team down considerably, since engines are a major budget item.
    "That makes total sense for a series like the Trucks, which is designed to give young drivers seat time, to get new owners and new sponsors into the sport," Yates says. "So it makes a lot of sense, for a cost-control type of racing. We watched the Truck race here Saturday, and you could see there are a lot of challenges….
   "We would love to do something like that. Our company is perfectly suited for that.
   "It could be bid out.
   "Or we could just go to a NASCAR spec, with each manufacturer getting 10 or so teams. We could all do it at 'this cost' and at 'this power level.'
   "That would be a really cool way to do it. That's what I would propose.
   "There are so many engines out there right now that are about to become obsolete. We (Ford teams) are getting ready to obsolete 300 engines; Dodge is about to obsolete all their engines…"
   Ironically even in the Cup garage most teams use engines with virtually the same horsepower, even though under different car makes.
   "That's because the geometry of these engines is all so close," Yates said.
   "Back when we won this race in the early 1990s with Davey Allison we had maybe 50 or 60 horsepower more. But back then you could work really hard over the winter and make a difference and go to Daytona and turn everyone on their ear.
   "Now those days are gone. This is a different type of racing, but that's okay."

    There is another engine issue under debate currently, and that's on the Cup side, where motors churn out an amazing 830-plus horsepower.
    Support appears to be growing to cut Cup horsepower, thus cutting corner-entry speed, thus making for more side-by-side racing.
    David Hyder, crew chief for Bill Elliott and the Woods, says putting restrictor plates on engines at tracks like this two-mile oval and California's Auto Club Speedway would greatly improve the racing.
   And Yates agrees.
   "Nobody likes plates," Yates concedes. "But here you're going into the corners at 215 mph, which is ridiculous. And then you've got the tire problems at Indianapolis…..It's all just a physics equation – how fast you go into the corner, how much grip you have, and what that does to the tires.
   "So I'm an advocate of taking some engine power away and making the racing better. Take at least 50 horsepower way.
   "These Cup cars are overpowered today. We definitely need to take some power away.
    "Every engine builder in this garage has made gains of 15 to 20 horsepower every year for 20 years…and we're going to gain another 15 horsepower next year. And it will cost us more money.
   "The fans in the stands don't care if we've got 700 horsepower, 800 horsepower or 900 horsepower or 1,000 horsepower, they just want to see a good race.
   "If we could take some power away, put more grip in the tires, it would make for better racing."



Taking out 50 horsepower

Taking out 50 horsepower isn't enough - they have to cut over 300. The sport isn't supposed to be about 600 horsepower, because 400 is enough.

I agree with a dramatic cut

I agree with a dramatic cut in engine HP. I have emailed Mike Mulhern several times over the last years about the need to cut HP. He has written about this issue many times. And I have news for everyone, these engines make well over 830 at the flywheel. I was at Furniture Row's shop in Denver a couple years ago right before they went to Hendrick power and they were making 890+ HP with their in-house engine program at that time. There is no need for 900+ HP engines. The cars would race so much better with 600. The big problem is what to do with the Nationwide series? They already cut engine HP with the tapered spacer to make sure those cars werent faster than the cup cars. In my opinion, NASCAR needs a whole new engine spec. Much smaller engines, lower revs, no exotic parts, etc.

I agree with STP43FAN. I also

I agree with STP43FAN.
I also think engine innovation through competition is one of the hallmarks of racing. Crate engines have no place in top series. However, the Truck series is a developmental series. I would favor crate engines in this case, but DO NOT use them at the Cup level.

I am not an advocate of

I am not an advocate of cutting horsepower. I am sick of plate style racing and thats what you will end up with. Lighten up the cars and increase the width and height of the tire to help Gooodyear compensate for the extra speed the cars are generating. The versions of these cars coming off the showroom floor dont weigh 3800lbs. anymore and they dont have 15X6in wheels on them either. More tire and less weight. Will make for better handling race cars and generate less tire wear and heat. Problem solved without anymore engine restriction talk. You poll the fans of NASCAR and you will find out that is the last thing they want to see. No more engine power reductions. There are alot better ways of improving things. This cookie cutter car is bad enough with zero brand identity along with the new no criticizing NASCAR policy or the financial gestapo OOOPSS! I mean thought police will come secretly and steal 50 grand out your wallet. NASCAR wonders why there numbers are dropping.

Bigger tires = boring! If you

Bigger tires = boring! If you like that you might as well watch indy cars. NASCAR needs to go with SMALLER tires so putting power to the pavement is harder. Therefore set up and driver throttle control will determine the winner. Now at daytona they flat foot it around which doesn't separate the good drivers from the bad. Instead it separates the good motor builders and teams with money.
I don't like crate motors but if one put out more than the cars could put to the pavement then it wouldn't matter that much and give the smaller teams a chance once in a while.
Anyway this concept works great for modifieds.

Has not been a touring class

Has not been a touring class yet stay together with a crate motor rule. Short track racing is dying because of this sort of engine rules.

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