Sprint Cup teams put fuel injection to test

October, 18, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Things you may have missed at Charlotte Motor Speedway and in NASCAR in general on Monday as the motorsports world mourned the loss of Dan Wheldon:

• They had a test at CMS, preparing Sprint Cup cars for next year's switch from carburetors to electronic fuel injection, otherwise known as EFI, as was on the hood of most cars. About a dozen teams participated and the media actually took an EFI 101 class with professor Doug Yates of Yates-Roush Engines.

There was no final exam, thank goodness.

The test was a big deal in that NASCAR finally is putting, as Yates said, the stock back in stock cars. You won't be able to tell much of a difference from the stands. The speeds will be about the same and the noise is just as loud.

Fuel mileage should be somewhat better, but teams won't be able to figure out all the issues with that until NASCAR decides on the final design of the tank.

Otherwise, this is more to make manufacturers happy. Automakers long have wanted the cars on the racetrack to simulate the cars in the showroom.

• Kasey Kahne got behind the wheel of a Hendrick Motorsports car that he'll be driving next year for the first time. He said there were more differences than he expected from the Red Bull Racing cars he currently drives.

Some might have to do with it being an EFI car.

"The power, the on and off throttle, and the way the engine reacts to what you do with your foot, to me that was the biggest difference," Kahne said.

• Jeff Gordon unveiled at the nearby Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital the "Sounds of Pertussis" quilt in his continued effort to educate the masses on whooping cough.

The "Race to Blanket America" quilt has 2,400 squares designed by individuals with the March of Dimes donating $1 for each square up to $10,000 (for more information, go to www.SoundsofPertussis.com). Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, designed one square and Gordon designed another.

"All of us take calculated risks in our lives to some degree," Gordon said. "But when it comes to our children, I don't think that's anything we can afford to be risky on."

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer


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