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...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 00:47
Valvoline NextGen Fords Sweep Texas Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won their respective races at Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend. The Valvoline-supported Roush Fenway Fords were favored, and The Biff’s win broke a 49-race drought for the No. 16. Many fans said the race was flat-out boring, largely due to the lack of wrecks and cautions (only 2). This bumped the race-average speed to more than 160 mph and gave the Texas race the largest number of Superspeedway green-flag laps in this century. Unfortunately, Rick Hendrick will have to lug the “200th Win” box of hats top yet another race. Jimmie Johnson led 160 laps but was no match for Biffle. The No. 48 scraped the wall in pursuit of the 3M Ford, finishing more than 3 seconds behind at the checkers.
Will Power: A Dang Houdini Nobody would have given a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar a ghost of a chance to win the Long Beach Grand Prix after the series-imposed 10-spot penalty for an engine change—unless, of course, if your name is Power, Will Power. Penske’s Aussie just put his head down and drove a methodically brilliant race from his 12th place start to win. It’s still a mystery how he was able to fend off a charging Simon Pagenaud as the race wound down and not run out of ethanol. Penske team boss and Power’s race strategist said, “I don’t know how he (Power) does it. We just give him a fuel number and he does it.” Could it be some kind of Aussie magic? The win leaves the Honda teams completely flummoxed.
Racing’s Back at the Rock Hats off to Andy Hillenberg for bringing NASCAR back to Rockingham Speedway after an 8-year hiatus. Hillenberg got the bug to buy the track after working on the movie “Talladega Nights.”It was such a shame to see weeds growing on a track with this much history,” Hillenberg said. “It grabbed my heart.” Several years and $4.4 million dollars later, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled onto the iconic “cheese grater” asphalt surface. The near sellout crowd watched Turner Motorsports put on a driving clinic as pole sitter Nelson Piquet Jr. led 107 laps, only to get busted for pit-lane speeding. It knocked him out of contention. Meanwhile, dog-tired teammate Kasey Kahne was working his way from the back of the field a couple cars at a time—this after a 500-mile race in Texas Saturday night. James Buescher, Turner’s other regular driver could not hold back the adrenaline pumped Kahne at race end. More...
Friday, January 6, 2012 00:35
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be in a professional drag racer’s shoes, here’s your chance to do better than that (assuming you’re the right size, of course). Today is the last day to enter the Valvoline NextGen sweepstakes and win the firesuit worn by NHRA drag racer Spencer Massey on the day he debuted his Valvoline NextGen/Fram Top Fuel dragster at the 2011 Southern Nationals.
Massey’s faith in NextGen recycled oil is evident every time he rolls to the starting line in his 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster with NextGen in the engine. He relies on it for his personal vehicles, too, and not just for its performance. Recycled oil is good for the environment. Switching to NextGen recycled oil could reduce the need for oil by 1.6 billion quarts––enough oil to stack barrels from New York to Los Angeles––every year.
Remember, today is the last day to enter the sweepstakes, so hurry on over to Valvoline’s Facebook page and sign up before you get left sitting at the starting line.
Monday, January 2, 2012 06:00
The staging lights are on, and the revs are climbing in the Valvoline NextGen sweepstakes for a one-of-a-kind collector’s item––the firesuit worn by NHRA drag racer Spencer Massey on the day he debuted his Valvoline NextGen/Fram Top Fuel dragster at the 2011 Southern Nationals.
Massey is just one of a growing number of professional racers who are discovering how good a recycled oil can be. "I've been using Valvoline in my personal truck and my motorhome that I travel to all the races in for quite some time,” says Massey. “After we debuted the NextGen dragster in Atlanta I got curious about NextGen and decided to switch over to it. It’s really the best oil that I've ever used. I've traveled over 30,000 miles this year with my motorhome and I can honestly say that using that oil has made a big difference. As if using the Valvoline NextGen product in our 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters didn't say enough itself, I can honestly say it works very well for me in my personal vehicles, too."
You can enter the sweepstakes on Valvoline’s Facebook page. But don’t wait too long, because all those guys who already entered are looking to get the hole shot.