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Fuel Injection Takes A Test

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, July 7 2011

A Roush Fenway Ford with electronic fuel injection heads out for testing at Kentucky on Thursday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

NASCAR tested cars with electronic fuel injection systems on Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.

The new system, which soon will replace the carburetors which have been in NASCAR vehicles for decades, was installed on test cars from current teams in the series. All four brands of cars were represented in the test.

What follows is reaction to the test:

From Dr. Andrew Randolph, Earnhardt Childress Engine Technical Director:   “It is going very well. We are setting the transient characteristics of the engine. That is how it works when you get into the throttle and out of the throttle because that is where fueling becomes a challenge is when you’re having rapid changes in the throttle position. That is what we are spending most of our time working on is the calibration for when they are letting off the throttle and getting on the throttle.”

On helping market street cars: “It certainly makes it a lot closer to the production. They are called stock cars and it makes them a lot closer to what is stock and the engines that are sold. From that standpoint, there are probably are some people that will relate to it a little more.”

On drivers feeling a difference: “Oh certainly and that is what we are doing today. It’s not necessarily clear looking at data on a screen what is good and what is bad, so, we have different drivers driving the car giving us their subjective feel of ‘yea, I really like that’ or ‘I don’t’.”

On the cars going faster:  “No, NASCAR has selected components to keep the power level very close to the same as it has been. From a driver’s perspective, they should like this much more because it will be smoother so it will idle better, they’ll have more control when they are coming in and out of the corners because it will put more emphasis on their skill as opposed to managing variability of the engine. Things you used to see that maybe had a lot of ‘G-Whiz” value like flames coming out of the tailpipes as cars went around the corner, that is un-burnt fuel that is escaping the combustion process and leaving the exhaust. It is very inefficient but might be kind of fun to look at. That will probably go away. Should go away because now we have much better control over the fuel mixture and we shouldn’t get in situations where we are pumping un-burnt fuel through the engine.

“From a fan standpoint, they really won’t notice much difference, but there will a lot of difference inside the car. It won’t sound any different.”

From Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering Program Manager – NASCAR: “There’s no reason that it can’t be a smooth transition from a carburetor to electronic fuel injection.   We’ve worked with the teams.  We worked with NASCAR.  We worked with suppliers that make the parts and pieces for passenger cars and brought them over here to the racing side and put everything together.  Everything has been really smooth.”

On the effect of the change:  “I think it makes Sprint Cup cars more relevant.  A lot of people are saying that these aren’t stock cars.  EFI is one way to make them closer to passenger cars.  The same fuel injection that we’re applying to these (NASCAR) engines, you’ll have in your Dodge passenger car in the street.   The same components work.  The same technology works.  It’s an electronic device that replaces and old mechanical device.  The cars will become more green, more efficient.  I think it will be more trouble-free and I really think it’s a good move by NASCAR.”

From Travis Geisler, Director of Competition, Penske Racing:  “EFI will be a more efficient way to deliver fuel.  With carburetors, the outside cylinders are richer than the inside.  The only way to combat that now is to put more fuel in the engine to keep the inside (cylinders) where it needs to be and then, you’re a little bit rich on the outside.  Now we can tune that (with EFI) side to side.

“From a team side, the infrastructure of your company has to change so much.  If you think about all the nuts and bolts of the difference between EFI and carburetor systems, I think of it as all the people that need to support it.  Over time, we’ve developed a lot of specialists for carburetors, guys who have worked their whole careers on how all that works.  Now, you take a guy who’s focused on a mechanical device to distribute fuel to a guy who needs to take an electrical device to do it.  It’s a totally different skill set.  It’s a totally different focus that a person needs to have.  You’ve got to keep an eye on how your company is handling that from a personnel standpoint from what you have from an infrastructure built up.  The carburetor flow bench is kind of going to get pretty dusty in a couple of months.”

From Dave Simon, Ford Racing Race Engine Engineer:  “It went well, very well. We didn’t have any issues with the car. The car ran well and we were able to progress through our test plan in a reasonable manner. The feedback from the drivers was good. They liked the car and liked the way it drove. We were able to fix a few issues this morning that were things that we really couldn’t get tuned in on the dyno, so you need to do it at the race track and we were able to do that. The car is responding to the changes, so we are very happy with the way things are going so far.”

From Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing driver:  “The fuel injection seems to be working okay. Everything ran pretty smooth and the motor is really smooth. It almost feels a little flatter compared to the other Cup motor but I don’t run it enough to really compare. Everything I have makes me feel like it is running smooth and we haven’t had any issues which is the main key they were trying to accomplish here. We wanted to run some laps out there and make sure things were running good. So far so good on that. It has got some speed also. We were around the top-10 in practice there. So far so good.”

From Mike Skinner, Toyota driver: “I drove both today, as you know, and on the race track at first you could tell a lot of difference, but we didn’t have this thing worked out.  Each map change that they’ve made — they went backwards, they went forwards, they went backwards and they went forward — the last three runs have all been forward.  On the race track now, I’m not so sure you can tell a big difference at all.”

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, July 7 2011
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  • David Franzen says:

    Much ado about nothing… long overdue and I cannot imagine any team struggling to get up to speed. I feel a bit sorry for the old school carb techs, but they knew that it was inevitable.