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...