Thursday, July 7, 2011 Kentucky Speedway Dodge Motorsports PR NASCAR EFI Open Interview Highlights NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
HOWARD COMSTOCK (Dodge Motorsports Engineering Program Manager – NASCAR)
ON THE CHANGE TO EFI: “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.”
HOW WILL THE CHANGE AFFECT NASCAR? “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.”
TRAVIS GEISLER (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)
WILL EFI ALLOW TEAMS TO RUN LONGER? HAVE BETTER FUEL MILEAGE? “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.”
COMSTOCK: “People complain about stock cars not being stock. To me, this is one part of the stock car that’s stock. These are the same injectors that you have in passenger cars: the same module that you use in a passenger car: the same wiring harness. From Dodge’s standpoint, it’s technology that we’ve understood for the last 25 years that we can help the teams apply to the race car.”
REPORTS ARE THE COST SOMEWHERE AROUND $26,000 EACH; IS THAT CORRECT?
GEISLER: “That’s not too far off. It’s not a cheap endeavor. Certainly, the quantities that you need are pretty low. We’re not going to have one for every car that we have. We’re not going to have one for every engine that we have. I think after the initial upstart, anytime there’s a rule change, there’s some expenses that are associated. I think long term this is a better direction for us than to continue with the carburetor. It’s been great for us to help strengthen our relationship with Dodge and to utilize some of their expertise in this area. I feel like what made NASCAR or stock car (racing) great was that relationship between manufacturer and teams. We kind of gotten away from that and now this kind of standardized the car. With the chassis and body so tightly controlled, that’s helped our relationship a bunch because we’ve moved much more towards manufacturing than we ever were with the old car. We had chassis that were all over the place. We had bodies that were all over the place – (Dodge) really couldn’t help us. Now, we’re building so many cars exactly the same, it’s like, ‘What can you guys help us with? You do this for a living.’ You bring in EFI technology and it’s more of what Dodge is doing every day. It’s new to us, so we can lean on them more. The more that we strengthen that relationship the better off we are as sport.”
DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY EFI MODULES THAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE SEASON?
GEISLER: “I think the number that we’re looking at right now is about 10-12 total. I think we’re going to have a couple weeks of primaries and backups just to have the cars outfitted and ready to go. We try and stay that far advanced with our builds. And then, you need to have a couple for around the shop fire-ups and then the engine shop will need a few on the dyno. I don’t see us having a whole lot.”
COMSTOCK: “Once we build up the stock of components, it’s not like they’ll wear out every week. Once you get all the cars outfitted, all the shops outfitted, we should be in pretty good shape. They’re really good quality components.”
HOW HAS THE EFI TEST GONE TODAY?
COMSTOCK: “Really nice. It’s been great. We’ve got some time on this car and this engine, so we were pretty confident coming here today. It turns out that its gone very smoothly.”