Wednesday, September 12, 2012 18:41
Enter for Your Chance to Win by October 2, 2012
If you’ve ever been to a Pep Boys auto parts store, you’ve seen the logo with the three caricatures of “Manny, Moe, and Jack.” What you might not know is that not only were Manny, Moe, and Jack real people, the founders of Pep Boys back in 1921, but there was a fourth partner, also named Moe, who cashed out early on. But what you really need to know about Pep Boys today is that it’s teaming up with Valvoline NextGen motor oil to send a lucky sweepstakes winner and a guest on a VIP trip to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, November 10-11.
The single Grand Prize winner will be announced on October 12, and will receive airfare, accommodations, and tickets for two to the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway. The winner will also receive $200 in cash, a Valvoline TracPack, one-day access to the Don Schumacher Racing hospitality area, a meet-and-greet with the team’s driver, Don Schumacher, and much more. More...
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 23:00
Jim France and Don Panoz shook hands today in what may revitalize sports car racing in the United States. The deal to merge the International Speedway Corporation’s GRAND-AM series with the American Le Mans series founded by Georgia tycoon Don Panoz sets a course that has road racing fans saying, “It’s about time!”
This is a reunion no less important than that of the IRL and Champ Car (CART) reunion after those series’ split and floundered, nearly killing open-wheel racing in the U.S.
Here’s how it went down:
Professional sports car racing in the United States has historically been the redheaded stepchild of all motorsports venues (sorry for the pun, Don). Sure, there were moments of brilliance with the Can Am, Formula 5000, Trans Am and IMSA of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Then, the lights flickered and some went out completely.
IMSA brought the world those breathtaking GTP prototypes from Porsche, Nissan, Jaguar and Toyota. On my maiden voyage to Daytona, the first sound I heard coming out of the tunnel years ago was that of Bob Tullius’ Group 44 V-12 Jag GTP echoing off the stands in a practice run. Up and down through the gearbox in the infield then the beautiful increase in pitch as the car rocketed down the back straight to the bus stop. It was simply symphonic to these ears. More...
Thursday, July 5, 2012 16:34
Environmentalists may scoff, but the motorsports industry is meeting critics more than halfway with a variety of “green” programs. The American Le Mans Series has the Michelin Green X Challenge and NASCAR is doing a number of things to clean up the air at the track (and it has nothing to do with Kurt Busch…sorry couldn’t resist a potshot).
The NASCAR switch to ethanol E85 has made a big difference. Though hardly scientific, the air inside Bristol Motor Speedway is trapped by the bowl shape and high grandstands that completely surround the infield. NASCAR veterans have always complained of the “Bristol headache” after the race because a whole race worth exhaust gas has nowhere to go. “My dad used to complain about going to Bristol,” says Doug Yates. “He didn’t like the smell and the smog and all the contaminants. That’s cleaned up a lot.” E85 and the fuel injection engine have reduced the need for Tylenol on the way back home from a Bristol event.
Not so long ago, Jack Roush used to take great pride jetting carburetors. He would hold the carb high by all four corners, like a priest holds up a challis at mass, and take it to the car when he was finished with a jetting job. So a great ceremony is another “green” casualty.
Roush/Yates engine guru Doug Yates says there is another gain. That’s because the fuel injection system controls the fuel/air mixture much more precisely. It also eliminates the off-throttle flames coming out of the exhaust from unburned fuel. More...
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 22:24
Doug Yates has made some very large strides since he took over the reins of Roush/Yates Engines from his legendary father Robert. The first leap was the development of the FR9 engine, Ford’s first ever purpose-built race engine. It has proven to be a mighty bullet in the NASCAR wars. (Now if we could only get one to “fall off the truck,” so we could put it in a “stealth” Mustang…)
There was no rest for the winners at the Yates shop in Mooresville, N.C. as development began on the fuel injection engine. “This was a big job,” Yates says. “It’s the biggest change in engine technology in NASCAR in 63 years. It was even bigger than building the FR9 engines because the technology was so new. Getting the fueling right and getting the sensors right was a big challenge.” Now, with half a season in the record books Yates says, “I would give this engine an A.”
Although NASCAR had a few limited tests and the team logged thousands of hours in the dyno rooms, nothing compares to the “trial by fire” of a real race, both literally and figuratively, done at this year’s Noah’s Ark, err Daytona 500. Doug Yates and everyone in the shop were standing proud when Matt Kenseth’s Valvoline NextGen Ford flashed across the finish line at the checkers.
Since then, Yates has spent a lot of time with the engineers at Freescale/McLaren Electronic Systems (go to www.freescale.com, and read “The Power inside NASCAR Fuel Injection”). The company has a long and successful history in other forms of motorsports, most notably in Formula 1. More...
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 17:28
Memorial Day is a veritable feast for the motorsports glutton. The day begins with Formula 1 cars on Monaco’s narrow streets, opens up to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in Indianapolis, and ends with a 600-mile metal grinder in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Imagine putting a swarm of huge Northern Minnesota mosquitoes into a jar and shaking it up real good. That’s not unlike the sound of Formula 1 engines bouncing off the buildings in Monaco. While racing modern F1 cars there has been questionable for a long time, tradition outweighs that notion the minute the starting lights go off. Seven-time champ Michael Schumacher should have been on pole, but a penalty from the previous race dropped him five grid spots at the start. Defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel had a snit with the Red Bull team and did not compete in Q3, so he started in 10th. Neither driver was given a ghost of a chance to win on the “ultra slim fast” street circuit. Red Bull’s Mark Webber took off like a JATO rocket at the start leaving a melee of million dollar bumper cars at the first turn. Scratch four cars.
When the race restarted after the safety car period, it became a strategic tire battle as the fuel-heavy cars shredded their super soft tires and made an already narrow racing line even skinnier as the “clag” built up off line. It’s the F1 equivalent of “the cushion” at Eldora. You could plainly see bits of rubber rolling off the tires in the incredible super slo-mo video shots. More...