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.
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