By admin | February 21, 2011
By Richard Allen
In 2009 Ford Motor Company in association with Roush Yates Engines began to phase in a new power plant for their NASCAR teams known as the FR9. By the next season the engine was pretty much in full time use in the Sprint Cup Series. After a few inevitable growing pains, it looks as if Ford teams are now reaping the benefits of their work.
In the 2009 season, Ford won only two races and those were the first two events of the year. Matt Kenseth took both the season opening race in Daytona and the following event in California. From that point, Ford would not win another race until August 1, 2010 when Greg Biffle won in Pocono. Since then, however, things have turned around for the ‘Blue Oval’ contingent.
Biffle again came home first in Kansas late last season. Then, Carl Edwards visited victory lane in each of the final two weekends of 2010 at Phoenix and Homestead.
According to reports out of the Ford camp, the FR9 provides a bit more horsepower than its predecessor, but perhaps more importantly, it has a lower center of gravity than the old motor. This allows the teams to redistribute the weight throughout the front of the car which can in turn aids the car’s handling ability.
Drivers and crews seemed to struggle with getting the right front end geometry for a while but recent results indicate they have found their way.
This past week at the Daytona International Speedway offered a view into another potential advantage the FR9 has afforded its teams. The engine’s cooling system appeared to play very much of a key role in the victory of young Trevor Bayne driving for Wood Brothers Racing.
Due to the somewhat strange 2X2 formation racing that took place on Daytona’s newly paved surface, water and oil temperatures being kept in check proved to be a critical factor for success.
According to Doug Yates, head of Roush Yates Engines, his people have worked very hard to gain an advantage in terms of the motor’s cooling system
“If you go back through all of our press releases, the cooling system is one of the biggest things that we focused on,” Yates declared. “Right now, if you can push somebody longer or have a couple horsepower, you’re gonna choose to push somebody longer today, so I think that was a good choice and it was by design. We didn’t know that this day would come and we’d be racing two-by-two, but I think the design group and Ford did a good job in working on that part of the engine.”
Fords placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the ‘Great American Race’ due in large part to the advances made by Yates’ engineers at RYE. And obviously, with now three points paying Sprint Cup wins in a row, the new engine is making a difference for its teams.
For my story on east Tennessean Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win please visit TennesseeRacer.com http://tennesseeracer.com/?p=1415
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