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1outlaw

Nascar going to fuel injection in 2011 and ethanol the next year?

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Race fans need more stimulation, variety, excitement, etc. Good to have change as it changes the win formula, makes for higher interests. It is boring to level the competition so much. Turns into a dropping of tire wrench to lose or win. May the big financed corp world be contaminating the governing judgement as they are motivated to take away the chance for upset? As so much money at risk to be humiliated. How about the ethanol cars vs the petrol? Make the gpm more important/valuable. Lighten up on regs and put more creativity and cleverness in the race. At one time the place to prove out new ideas and innovation. Now you buy a car, driver and market to sponsors an image.   

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It's not about breaking the rules. It's about how far you bend them.

 

I'm amazed F1 still does what it does despite it's restrictions in place. Auto racing is at the limits of the human body on the ground just like in fighter jets. It's a different ball game keeping it all on the ground, especially with--face it!--no REAL  wings until COTM came along. If you want it stay on the ground laterally at speed it's going to be some weird winged monstrosity at 230mph+. They try too hard to make the cars look as stock as possible instead of being more effective. There's too much identity attached to NASCAR chassis' regarding appearances. To work right it's going to just look a little bit wrong.

 

Can they ever really let American stock car racing free and loose like it once was? There's no real aerodynamic freedom for them to use. Restricting shock use to restrict corner speed doesn't mean it stays glued to the track any better. I always thought that was like forcing a spin on the driver if they pushed the car too hard, when he's there to push the car hard anyway! If they want to bring fans back, they've got to bring some of the speed back.

 

A WRC style wing with multiple vertical fins and a slightly larger lip would be ideal, I think. It'd look a little cartoonish but it's already "non" stock-car racing anyway. With better aero and yet more engine restrictions, I think they'd still be able to go faster more controllably anyway. A loose car may look good to the fans and even be faster, but give it more necessary tools to do the job.

 

I have another crazy question---are they not running 1200hp monster engines because of insurance?

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It will be interesting to see how they handle the fuel injection change. That will open up a whole new ball of worms regarding engine management, and things like traction control via engine management (ie cutting out cylinders when they spin the wheels coming off a corner or on the restarts. I suspect in time they will discover there is no way to eliminate traction control just like F1 did and end up allowing it. Same goes for fuel economy. EFI will allow them to run the engine on 2 - 4 cylinders on the caution laps to save fuel. It will have a huge impact on fuel management. Likewise on EFI engines you completely cut off the fuel during throttle lift to save fuel and maximize engine braking, where on a carburator, throttle lift sucks a lot of fuel into the engine due to high manifold vacuum.

 

The shift to E85 is pretty much inevitable for lots of reasons, I hope they do not put restrictive limits on engine compression that blocks the engine builders from making full use of the fuel. I think they are current limited to about 12:1 because some of the restrictor plate engines were playing with 18:1 compression ratios to make up for the effects of the restrictor plate.

 

They will never allow speeds to get much over 200 mph on the tracks they are running. Aerodynamics make it almost impossible to keep the cars on the ground after they get over that speed. Even with the roof flaps and roof rails at around 210, they start to blow over, and NASCAR has already made it clear that they never want a car to go into the stands. At current speeds the retaining fences are just about at their limit to keep debris out of the stands during a high speed impact with the fence.

 

They will do what ever it takes to hold speeds down to a <210 mph for that reason.

 

The empty stands has a lot to do with the current economy. With the quality of TV coverage today it is real easy to talk yourself out of spending a few hundred dollars to attend a race. Same goes for the sponsors, there was a big contraction in the industry when the financial crunch hit a year ago. That won't change much until companies start to see better cash flows and can get financing when they need it. They are not going to tie up a good fraction of a million dollars to buy a hood sponsor spot, if they are not sure that they can get short term loans to cover cash flow issues. They will keep the money in the bank, or buy a cheaper quarter panel spot. The teams are trying to cater to that now by running more advertisement that is only for a single race or a couple races, and sharing sponsor opportunities among more companies, rather than having one major year long sponsor and a few smaller year long sponsors.

 

Larry

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I miss that from you, Larry. You make debates fun like a good teacher ;D.

 

Traction control is definitely needed. I still think better aero towards their goals is needed, too. That bullet style shape is good in a straight line at high speed, but not in a corner. Their goal of safety aside from reducing speeds was to get better control in the corners. There's more they could do towards that end and keep a quick car out of the fence. It looks like they applied minimal aero and chassis style changes to preserve the shapes of the cars, not just make them uniform.

 

"Loose is fast" I think is another dangerous misnomer. Having control of the car is fast, even when it's a little loose. The COTM cars come back a lot easier from a slide because of their better aero. Even F1 drivers favor vertical fin use.

 

car-of-tomorrow-01.gif

 

They've used two vertical fins in the rear and already greatly increased the available lateral control of the cars. They don't allow the teams to make those little changes for a better car, IMO. If the freedom was there, I think you'd find a couple of those verticals up front and maybe two more in the rear. Teams are left to bend rules to go faster instead of use better--or simply competitive--methodologies. A panel or safety committee can have the final word, but it's always hard work that comes up with the answers.

 

 

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Some excellent points Larry. The economy IS the major drag on Nascar right now from both the sponsor and fan side. To offset the fan's reluctance to spend money they will either need to create a lot more excitement OR wait out the economy. For me- no way would I spend that kind of ticket money, time, and travel expense (few races are even close to WI). I can take my boys and head to my choice of several local dirt and asphalt tracks after work and for just a few bucks where I might even know some of the guys running--they might even be running on my E85. I can choose several race formats locally and even bracket races. These are the same reasons I no longer attend the Indy 500 or even go to the horse race at Louisville Downs- too far, too expensive, too much time lost, and too distant from the "action". TV races or the local tracks are just a better bang for the investment.

 

I love innovation- I still remember Graham Hill running his turbine at Indy. Some fans hated it but most were drawn to watch anyway. The problem with innovation is they still have to find a way to keep speeds safe and there is always rule pressures "to be fair" to the other teams- this is seldom "fair" in the end because they over or under restrict.

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Outlaw, are sales picking up a bit, now?

 

You betcha  ;) But it does not all come at once- it takes a while for some folks to notice. They notice more when gas is putting holes in their pockets (ie >$3). ;D

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Given the 5% or so power gain you could expect from E85 as a fuel they might shift to a smaller engine displacement and get the power back with the fuel. Running just as fast on a smaller engine would be one way to beat the problem of too fast to control.

 

If they drop displacement by 10% and then change fuel and get back 5% they get a safe car speed that is easier on the tires, (which is a problem right now).

 

They will also likely lose some power due to shifting to EFI. A well sorted carburetor frequently will make more power than EFI due to the evaporative cooling that takes place in the engine manifold from the fuel mist. There are several high end engine builders and prostock level drag racers I have seen comment that they never could beat the power they were making on carburetors with EFI. They could get close but they could not beat them.

 

Modern carburetors are a far cry from the carburetors in use when fuel injection was introduced on the corvette. Fuel injection mostly improves things like throttle response, and the ability to tweak very precisely certain areas of the power curve. It would also be a learning curve for the race engineers. They have 30+ years of experience with carbureted engines and manifolds designed for wet flow (fuel mist in the air). When they switch to EFI all that changes and they will be dealing with dry flow conditions in the manifold (unless they mandate a throttle body injection setup). If they go to individual cylinder injectors, then they can also trim fuel air mixture on a cylinder by cylinder basis, and will no longer need to battle centrifugal force throwing fuel to the right hand engine bank in corners, and the left hand bank trying to go lean at high g cornering forces.

 

Larry

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