CONCORD, N.C. -- Day 1 of the annual NASCAR media tour started with a handout from Roush Yates Engines explaining some of the key aspects of this year's switch to electronic fuel injection.
My first thought was this is perfect reading material to help me fall asleep tonight in my hotel room since this subject bores me to tears.
But the handout was actually done well and interesting, or as interesting as this topic can get. So I'm going to get this out of the way right from the start, with the help of the Roush Yates cheat sheet on EFI, hoping never to have to address it again.
Roush Yates listed 10 aspects of the switch that fans need to know, with short explanations about each.
I'll list a few here.
• No. 1 on the list is relevance. Today, cars do not have carburetors (they haven't for decades) and finally, NASCAR doesn't either with the switch to EFI. So the switch makes the cars more like your car -- you know, a stock car, which is what it's supposed to be.
• Point No. 2: You won't notice a thing. The sound of the engines will be the same. If someone didn't tell you about the change, you wouldn't know it.
• Point 3: Efficiency. McLaren, which manufacturers the EFI system NASCAR is using, hasn't had an on-track failure in any racing series that uses its system. Not one. OK, I just jinxed it.
Engine longevity is expected to increase because of added control of fuel and spark. And the engine builders can push the limits on performance because of more detailed access to computer data on engine wear.
• Point 4: Control. NASCAR has always feared increased technology in the cars because of concerns that it might be difficult to police.
However, NASCAR officials maintain they can monitor EFI with computer data from the new ECU (engine control unit), which officials can plug into and spot-check at any time.
We'll see. Typically, if there's something new in the car, teams will find a way to abuse it.
• Point 5: It's greener. The Roush Yates tutorial card says EFI reduces fuel waste, allowing engines to run more efficiently and cleaner, and it produces less carbon monoxide emissions.
All good things, but for those of you wondering, and I know most of you are, it won't eliminate fuel mileage races.
Hey, nothing's perfect.