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Which driver will be brave enough to shut his engine off to save gas?

By admin | March 10, 2012

By Richard Allen


As has been well documented over the past couple of years, NASCAR drivers have become adept at saving gas. Particularly, many have mastered the technique of shutting the car off and letting it coast under caution to preserve the fuel in the tank. Heck, Tony Stewart essentially won the Sprint Cup championship doing that very thing over the course of last season’s final ten races when many of them came down to fuel mileage stretches.

However, in a cruel twist of irony last Sunday in Phoenix, the very thing that served Stewart so well in 2011 actually bit him in the latter stages of that event. Under a late race yellow period, the defending Sprint Cup champion shut his engine off the save gas and it refused to re-fire.

The difference from this year to last is the implementation of Electronic Fuel Injection in the Sprint Cup Series over the most recent off season. Apparently, teams have not yet mastered all the quirks and nuances of EFI.

Stewart is not the only driver to encounter EFI problems.

During Friday’s media availability sessions for drivers, Kyle Busch commented on the problem. “Our guys did a dyno test this week and failed some things,” he explained. “You can’t just shut the car off and have it re-fire.”

Busch went on to point out that his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates have each experienced issues with the new EFI system. Busch stated that Joey Logano shut his engine off at Daytona and could not get it to re-fire. And, Denny Hamlin could not get his engine to restart after doing a celebratory burnout in Phoenix after his win there.

All of this caused Busch to remark of EFI that, “It’s shown me the mechanics of a carburetor seem to be smarter than a computer.”

So, with all of these problems being so widely reported and known, what driver will be brave enough to shut his engine off and coast to save fuel should circumstances come about to turn the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway into a fuel mileage stretch run?

Sprint Cup drivers, save fuel at your own risk until your team’s technicians figure everything out.

Topics: Articles |

3 Responses to “Which driver will be brave enough to shut his engine off to save gas?”

  1. Sue Rarick Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I guess this means the tandem is back ……….One teamate pushing the #1 driver so that driver saves fuel. RCR did it a few times last year and in at least one case led to Harvick getting one of his wins. I remember seeing Menard pushing both Burton and Harvick at the same time during one of the races last year.

    The good news though is that with all the talk of Vegas ending up to be another gas mileage race I am going to a local car show here in Nashville instead. I’ll catch up on the race by reading your tweets when I get home, Rich.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Hate to do a double posting but has anyone noticed that this years TV ratings are down again. Yes there was a spike for the Montoya roast, but the overall ratings are dropping again.

  3. Offkilter Says:
    March 11th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Any racetrack on the circuit under certain circumstances can become a fuel management win for a team at the end. Wins are hard to come by. The risk of not refiring is worth the reward.
    The nationwide race yesterday was pretty good until the 6 car stunk up the show on the last run. Hopefully the cup race today will be as good and not come down to the fuel factor.
    Something enteresting from the nns race yesterday. KB backs his car into the fence from over driving. Proof that even if a driver is lauded as superman behind the wheel, if his car isn’t close, he’s just another driver. Meanwhile martin finishes 2nd in a jgr car. Everyone who has driven jgr cars in nns has been competetive.