Before I get into this week’s topic, I would like to point out that Bruce Simmons, who normally joins us here in our weekly “Loose in Turn 3″ segment representing Bruce’s NASCAR Bits ‘n’ Pieces, will to be joining us this week as he is off in San Diego on a separate venture at the moment. He will be returning with us next week, but in his place today is our guest blogger, one of DYN’s very own loyal readers, Rocky Akins. I’d like to give a special thanks to Roc for filling the gaps for us this week, and as a bonus, he even brought in this week’s topic of discussion for us.
Now, onto business. Earlier this week NASCAR announced that they would be implimenting new rules in the Nationwide Series that would restrict the horsepower that the engines can produce by limiting the airflow. The amendment they put in place states, verbatem:
“At all Events, unless otherwise specified, all engines with a cylinder bore spacing less than 4.470 inches must compete using a tapered spacer with four (4) 1.125-inch diameter holes. At all Events, unless otherwise specified, all engines with a cylinder bore spacing of 4.470 inches or more must compete using a tapered spacer with four (4) 1.100-inch diameter holes. Unless otherwise authorized, the carburetor restrictor will be issued by NASCAR.”
The change comes after several months of complaining from teams of other manufacturers, particularly Chevy and Ford, as well as from several conspiracy theorists that watch weekly from the grandstands or from the comfort of their living room. The complaints finally drove NASCAR to conduct two dyno tests on the engines, one following the race at the Milwuakee Mile, and the other after a couple weeks ago at Chicagoland. The Milwuakee tests revealed a significant horsepower advantage for Toyota, but after Chicago, NASCAR tested ten cars – 3 from Toyota, 3 from Chevy, 2 Ford’s, and 2 Dodge’s. David Reutimann’s car topped the testing charts, and Kyle Busch – the eventual race winner – tested second.
Q: NASCAR recently placed restrictions on the engines in the Nationwide Series, limiting the airflow, and therefore putting a restriction on the horesepower. Should we expect to see similar measures be implimented into the Sprint Cup Series, and if so, when?
TZ: I think it all depends on next year, to be honest. If the Toyotas – particularly Kyle Busch – start to run away with things again in 2009, then yeah, I think NASCAR will start considering such moves. But, to be honest, I think their decision for the Nationwide Series was purely a financial one. From everything (credible) that I’ve read, the only true advantage that Toyota has had is that they didn’t have to upgrade their long-term engine packages. They came into stock car racing with an idea of what they wanted to do, and it turned out to be much better than what the other manufacturers were running. Chevy and Ford started making gripes, but in reality, they are fully capable of putting out the same product, but they don’t want to put forth the extra buck for the sake of the NNS. Notice that it’s not Toyota’s running away by a mile in the Cup Series, just Kyle Busch. That tells me that they’ve put forth the effort to upgrade in Cup.
Roc: I agree T.Z. Kyle’s car is wicked fast on all restarts, and he is the guy to beat every week which we’re not really seeing from the other Gibbs cars. Toyota will spend a bunch of money to be at the top, and with all the other corporations really in finacial trouble, I look for nascar to find a way to even out the field in Cup, too. I haven’t seen the rating this year, but as you know I’m pretty die-hard. But, there were a couple races that I just couldn’t watch, having certain cars that dominate every week hurts the sport a lot more than it helps it so I look at early next year a horsepower change to be in effect.
Charlie: The Nationwide Series horsepower initiative was put in place to help save the teams money. Toyota experimented – all on their own by the way – in 2007 with making engines for the Craftsman Truck Series that lasted for more than one race between rebuilds. Johnny Benson actually won races with those motors as I recall. It is not surprising that Toyota has an edge there. In Cup, NASCAR will always play with things to level the field. It might be carburetors or it might be spoilers or splitters. Ido not believe that NASCAR will limit engines in the Cup Series across the board.
the Rest of the Discussion:
Tony Stewart, currently tenth in Sprint Cup points, is 49 markers ahead of 13th place Clint Bowyer. Four drivers, icluding Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, within 49 points of each other with only three spots up for grabs. Who doesn’t make it to the Chase?
Be sure to visit On Pit Row as the three of us wrap up this week’s conversation by debating amongst ourselves to answer the above question concerning the Chase. And, just because Bruce isn’t with us this week is no reason not to continue giving his site some love, so don’t forget to continue checking out his Bits ‘n’ Pieces to get the latest and greatest on all that is NASCAR. Have a great weekend, everyone!