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Jeff Gordon's take: Engine legend Doug Yates has it all "absolutely backwards"

Doug Yates: wonder how he'll take this diss from Jeff Gordon (Photo: Autostock)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Now here's one for the books, some food for thought:
   Chevy's Jeff Gordon says that veteran Ford engine builder Doug Yates is full of it, for Yates' recommendation that NASCAR cut horsepower from these Sprint Cup cars to make for better racing and better tire wear.
   But then maybe some of that comes from the fact that Gordon's team owner – Rick Hendrick – has won eight of the Cup tour's last 10 events. With a record like that, why ask for changes.
   Gordon on Yates' engine recommendation: "That's somebody that doesn't drive a race car, because that's just absolutely backwards. 
   "The more power that we take away from the engines, the faster we go through the corners. 
    "We've seen it in the Nationwide series. We saw it years ago at New Hampshire when they had some of the tragedies there and tried to slow the cars down and take power away (with restrictor plates, on that flat one-mile) -- and we went through the corners faster.
   "Just because you cut horsepower down doesn't mean that it's going to slow your speed in the middle of the corner…and that's where most of the tire wear and abuse comes from -- how you lean on that tire through the middle of the corner and the corner speed.
    "I always say 'Give us more power,' because the more power we have, the more difficult it's going to be to control it. And the car is not going to handle as good…so we're probably going to carry actually less speed. 
    "I definitely am very much against taking power away from the cars.
    "Now if you take downforce away, you take grip away, and you do a lot of other things on top of the power.
    "But just the power is definitely not the answer."

Engines? Jeff Gordon's crew changes a blown engine last weekend at Michigan (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Well, Jeff is out there

Well, Jeff is out there driving the car so he ought to know about the way the car handles and the corner speeds better than someone who is building engines, but NOT driving the race car.

Doug may know engines, but Jeff knows the race tracks. He's got the record to prove it. What has Yates done lately as far as being competitive? And didn't Yates used to make big horsepower? That was their claim to fame.

I said it in the days of the

I said it in the days of the old car - take away all HP restrictions and then cut an inch off the spoiler and air dam and let them drive. Different with wing and splitter but let them go as fast as they dare and hang on for dear life.

It never worked. That's the

It never worked.

That's the 5&5 rule at work and it doesn't work. Take away downforce and they can't pass. Add horsepower and they crash harder.

What is the matter with people who keep wanting to recycle failed rules of the recent past?

I thought it was Doug's

I thought it was Doug's Father that was the Engine Legend!

robert yates was a legend

robert yates was a legend when i first met him in 1972 -- it was just holman-moody and then junior johnson who got the credit. doug has been the power behind the throne for years......robert was more than a legend, he was a genius -- a word i do not use lightly. a true genius. too bad nascar ignored him on so many key issues.

If more hp makes the car

If more hp makes the car slower because of handling issues then why wouldn't teams reduce hp to make a "faster" car?

They can go faster through

They can go faster through the corners with less horsepower, but not down the straightaways. The lap times, of course, would be slower with less horsepower. Gordon's point is that the cars will be going faster through the turns with less horsepower because they will be entering those turns with less speed and they will thus handle better. Most all of your tire wear occurs in the corners, thus faster speeds in the corners will mean more tire wear.

Gordon is a fool. Anonymous,

Gordon is a fool.

Anonymous, watching racing for well over two decades I have long seen that the whole "the less horsepower we make the faster we go through the corners" argument is true but irrelevant. The problem was not and is not raw corner speed as much as STRAIGHTAWAY speed. Corner speed is only a problem when straightaway speeds MAKE them a problem. Gordon mentions the restrictor plate race at Loudon in 2000, a race I was at - they didn't go through the corners faster than they had previously, they stayed where they were; they were just able to race the corners harder because they were slower down the straights.

Gordon is a fool because when you add more power you're NOT slowing anything down. It has NEVER happened that drivers carry less speed through the corners. The "we'll carry less speed through the corners" argument was blown up by the failures of the 5&5 rule of 1998 and its return in 2004-7 culminating in the COT. "We're probably going to carry less speed?" By saying "probably," Gordon himself just admitted he doesn't know what he's talking about here.

STP43FAN wrote: Gordon

STP43FAN wrote:
Gordon mentions the restrictor plate race at Loudon in 2000, a race I was at - they didn't go through the corners faster than they had previously, they stayed where they were; they were just able to race the corners harder because they were slower down the straights.

The second part of your statement just proved that Gordon IS right. When you race into the corners harder of course you're going to abuse the tires more.
He could've maybe worded it a little different saying harder instead of faster but he is correct.

At that NH race in 2000 the

At that NH race in 2000 the leaders pitted only twice - once every 100 miles. Tire wear wasn't great but it wasn't as bad as some thought it would be, either - other cars that pitted after Lap 200 for new tires gained nothing from it. And I also vividly remember - and Mike, you can jump in on this because I remember it from a piece you did - Robert Yates in 1999 saying they tested a restrictor plate at Atlanta and found that pressure on the right front tire actually was reduced.

My overall point about Gordon's argument is that he's right in some angles of the argument but flat wrong on his overall opposition to restricting horsepower because the reasons he cites are either wrong or are true but irrelevant.

I'll check out that 1999

I'll check out that 1999 Atlanta test...and see what Goodyear says....the Loudon 2000 race was quite ususual in that drivers were ready to all but boycott that place after all the deaths....Gordon and engines -- heck, i think he's got a ton more horsepower than everyone else and doesn't want to give any of it up. how much hp do you think he'll be carrying at Loudon this weekend?


ENGINE LEGEND DOUG YATES...boy it must be nice to have that title from all the years of hard work being done by your father, robert.
why would an engine builder want to decrease H.P. ? because they have been passed up in the power dept., thats why...
the fact is, fords new motor is a long ways off from being competitive.
ford never wanted the new motor, and nascar forced them to do it under nascars new engine guidelines.
just take a look at the nationwide cars and ask yourself if reducing power will fix any problems...

doug,now 41, has been

doug,now 41, has been building the engines for the family for years...
-- i do have questions about ford's new engine -- as i do about dodge's new engine. teams have been slow to adapt to them. i also question -- like jack roush has -- why nascar has let this engine thing become a battle for more and more horsepower over the last 15 years. robert yates back in 1993 said it was time then for nascar to start cutting horsepower in these engines....but nascar has refused to listen. why?
cutting horsepower?
let's ask crew chief david hyder:
"The faster cars goes, the less you can race them.
"You go to Martinsville and you never have a problem seeing a good race. You go to Bristol, and they pack 'em in.
"The faster these tracks are, the less racing you've got. And the only way you're going to make better racing at places like Michigan and California is to slow 'em down.
"If you'd slow these cars down to where you could actually race, all these guys we call 'super-heroes' would become just another driver."
sounds like a plan to me.

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