Thursday, September 20, 2012 16:11
Unbelievable in Fontana The 2012 IndyCar finale was to be an epic struggle between a snarling underdog and a snake bit champion in waiting. Championship leader Will Power was being pursued by a hungry Ryan Hunter-Reay for all the marbles. Both started deep in the field because each wanted fresh bullets in the engine bay. Neither showed any inclination to charge when the green flew. All Power had to do was keep RHR in his sights and the championship would finally be his…after crashing out of contention for two consecutive years.
All was well until Lap 55 when Power got caught out by one of the notorious Fontana seams filled with gooey black asphalt filler with the traction coefficient of goose rope. The ensuing spin sent Power backwards into the wall, nearly collecting Hunter-Reay in the process. Now, all the Andretti Autosport driver had to do was finish in sixth place to take the crown as the crestfallen Power climbed out of his crumpled car. It was over…again.
Giving up was not something Power’s crew had in mind as their driver headed for the coach lot and a change into civvies. Every Penske Racing mechanic from both teams descended on the Number 12 and repaired the crash damage in a manner Navy vets would call “****holes and elbows.” Power was summoned back in uniform to continue the fight. The pit lane erupted in applause as the Verizon Dallara took to the track, wheels akimbo. Power completed 12 more laps and retired for good, but the effort bumped the ante to P5 for the Andretti bunch. 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...