Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fuel Injection, Milwaukee Mile, Tiger Tom, Heat Races, Money, & Other Things

Fuel Injection & Other Engine Developments
Fuel injection has been around for over a century. It was developed by Herbert Akroyd-Stuart. His fuel injected engine first sold commercially on 8 July 1892. The first use of direct gasoline injection was on the Hesselman engine invented by Swedish engineer Jonas Hesselman in 1925. In 1940, the first electronic fuel injection was used on an Alfa Romeo in the Mille Miglia. With the advent of World War II and high performance aircraft, direct fuel injection was employed in a number of aircraft.

Mechanical fuel injection was being offered to racers back in 1940 but the war sort of brought a stop to that. In 1952, Bosch offered the first commercially produced mechanical fuel injection system. This system was also a direct injection system. Chevrolet offered mechanical fuel injection as an optional item on their 1957 model 283 V-8 engine that came in the Corvette. Bendix developed the first commercial electronic fuel injection system and it was offered by American Motors Corporation (Rambler. Remember them?) in 1957.
The first functional supercharger for a two stroke engine was developed in 1878. The first car equipped with a supercharger supposedly reached speeds of 100 mph back in 1908. The first production model cars with superchargers came from Mercedes in 1921.
By 1957, fuel injection and superchargers were being offered on production model cars here in the USA as an optional item. Bill France Sr on the other hand had a different idea. Instead of helping the automotive industry further develop this technology, he banned them from being used in NASCAR.
Now, here we are in 2012, with the Daytona 500 not too far off. For years we’ve heard how NASCAR has helped advance racing & street technology. And yet, the France family has hindered the development of innovations which could’ve led the auto industry into a fuel injected, turbocharged, or supercharged era many years earlier. NASCAR finally joined the later part of the 20th century by instituting the use on an obsolete fuel injection system that has yet to be fully run or tested under actual racing conditions from a manufacturer who has no experience with high powered, purpose-built V-8‘s like is used in NA$CAR, much less run under full race conditions with a restrictor plate. I hope the brain trust in the Ivory Towers has been finding Jesus because if this fuel injection system fails and cars lunch engines left and right, it’s going to be a PR disaster of nearly biblical proportions from which even the best PR, media, and spin doctors will have a tough time trying to put a good face on.


This should put a little more perspective on the size of the NA$CAR fan base. I realize not everybody has a Facebook account. As of when I gathered these numbers:
Top Gear (UK-version): 10,337,303 Facebook Likes
NA$CAR: 2,504,183 Facebook Likes
WWE: 7,753,565 Facebook Likes
John Cena: 10,403,001 Facebook Likes
The Walking Dead: 6,011,882 Facebook Likes
ARCA: 6,167 Facebook Likes
NHRA: 314,963 Facebook Likes
Survivor: 2,591,134 Facebook Likes
Top Gear America: 109,176 Facebook Likes
SCCA: 6,706 Facebook Likes
Dale Jr: 1,240,400 Facebook Likes
Ferrari: 137,499 Facebook Likes
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: 439,555 Facebook Likes
Roush Fenway Racing: 32,161 Facebook Likes
Carl Edwards: 201,149 Facebook Likes
Lotus F-1 Team: 14,934 Facebook Likes
Speed TV Channel: 291,197 Facebook Likes
Jeff Gordon: 418,032 Facebook Likes
US Air Force: 699,976 Facebook Likes
USMC: 2,105,440 Facebook Likes
Twitter Followers:
WWE 859,322
NASCAR 386,657
NASCAR Hometown Tracks 14,533
NASCAR on Focks 76,667
Jabber Jaws 71,897
Brad Keselowski 59,330
Jimmie Johnson 126,204
Matt Kenseth 39,678
Daytona International Speedway 24,304
Front Row Motorsports 3,686
Robby Gordon 33,400
Wendy Venturini 38,912
John Daly (The Daly Planet) 7,829
Bristol Motor Speedway 15,891
Orange Cone 9,745
The Catch Fence 1,047
Jet Dryer 1,044
Not Bruton Smith 375
Not Brian France 1,108
Wood Brothers 7,984
Dale Jr 42,024 *       Hasn’t sent out a single Twitter
Ken Schrader 7,667
IndyCar 45,540
Tony Kanaan 438,476
Pippa Mann 9,870
Indy Motor Speedway 24,677
Simona de Silvestro 15,142
Penske Racing 19,764
Formula 1 208,029
Lotus F-1 Team 72,873
NHRA 18,116
ARCA 5,131
Scuderia Ferrari (F-1 team) 189,447
So what does this say? Everything and nothing. NA$CAR, which has live shows from February through November, has far fewer fans or followers than some canned TV shows which do not run any live shows and only a limited number of new shows per season. Other racing series don’t fair as well on Facebook and Twitter as others. Not all racing series have an official Facebook or Twitter account. Not all drivers have a Facebook account. Not all race teams have a Facebook or Twitter account. And that some networks & TV shows really know how to use social media and capitalize on it to get the word out to fans, followers, sponsors, potential sponsors, and maybe even lure in new folks.

Milwaukee Mile Back

After dropping the Milwaukee Mile from the earlier IndyCar schedules, they’re back and will be hosting races on June 15-16 thanks in part to Andretti Sports Marketing Wisconsin. Tickets go on sale March 1.
Tiger Tom Pistone

A short statement from Tom regarding his induction to the Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame:
Thank you for voting for me. I’m honored to be going in Illinois Hall of Fame with so many great friends its humbling. Thank you art and Mike with hall of fame. Thank you my friends, my fans, my family, my friends no longer with us, this is for them to.

Your friend,

A great quote from Tom when he was asked what he thought when he saw the track at Daytona for the first time. “ ‘Wow’ big very big like a kid in candy store. Couldn't wait to get on the track”.
Mo’ Money 

The cost of racing is even higher this year than last. Jack Roush estimates it’ll cost him $4-$5 million dollars to have his cars run the new fuel injections system. It’s not simply a matter of bolting on the new injection set up. The cars have to be re-wired to accommodate the new system. Fuel lines have to be replaced to accommodate the higher fuel pressures being used. New fuel cells installed in each and every car. Plus, there’s the matter of the fuel pumps to provide fuel to the new injection system. We’re talking about fuel pumps that crank out about 2,000 psi.
Entry fees went up from $2400 a car to $4500 a car. Hard cards are now $3400 a piece. The at-track inspection fee is $1500 a car. If it fails inspection, it’s another $1500 to get the car re-inspected. If you have to roll out a back-up car, it’s another $1500.
So let’s see if I’ve got this right. The teams have to buy a car kit that doesn’t come with all the parts for $250,000 a kit. Then they have to pay $22,500 to have the assembled kit certified. Then they have to add in another $275,000 for everything that’s not in the kit including the new fuel injection system whereas the old cars cost $150,000 each with everything in them. The entry fees have been jacked up. The cost of hard cards have been jacked up. The teams have to pay for certification of the electronic chip for the fuel injection system. Now tell me again just how NA$CAR is saving the teams money?
IndyCar to Use Heat Races at Iowa

When IndyCar shows up in Iowa for their June 22 event, they’ll be using heat races rather than single car qualifying to set the field. There will be three heat races of 30 laps each would follow practice earlier in the day. Three groups would be determined by practice times. One group for the top 10 that would set starting positions 1-10, another for odd-numbered practice positions that would set starting positions 11, 13, 15, etc., & a third for even-numbered practice positions that would set starting positions 12, 14, 16, etc.

Since the implementation of the Top 35 Rule and the Chase for the Chumps, I have had a lot of racing fans say that NA$CAR needs to use heat races to set the field. It would definitely make for a more exciting race weekend. The field would really be set by their competitiveness and speeds. And even high dollar sponsors whose cars didn’t make the field would still be getting exposure. But then I keep forgetting. If it makes sense and/or would improve the actual races, NA$CAR won’t do it. They prefer gimmicks.


  1. Mike, you are the only author I've read to report the (ridiculous) NASCAR cost hikes. Thanks for the great reporting compared to the awful mainstream media way off in fantasy lala land.

    I'm not sure NASCAR even knows what it is doing right now. The move to fuel injection this season doesn't really make sense, considering teams need a whole new car next season and spend much more money. I already wonder where all these cars will go after 2012, as ARCA and the NASCAR East/West divisions are still using the normal pre-COT racecar.

    1. Thanks Buschseries 61. NASCAR fans have asked why sponsorships are so high ($15-$30 million a year)and I think the numbers I've gotten from some of my sources explain some of it. The cost of the COT is sky high versus the old car because it can only be purchased from one source. NASCAR. If the teams could use the basic plans and get the metals to build them through competitive bidders, they could probably drop the cost by at least 50% if not more. Jules the Engine Guy did some checking for me and found a comparable, race tested fuel injection system almost identical to what's installed in the Cup cars and it cost about $4,000. NASCAR only wants "Happy Happy Joy Joy" things reported. I guess numbers like the ones I've found don't fall into that category.

      From what I've heard about the 2013 car, it's going to be a reskinned COT. I haven't heard what the current cost is for reskinning a COT but it cost $50,000 to reskin the old car. If I get some figures on the cost I'll post them.

      As it is, there are still a lot of the old cars still sitting in storage that find there way onto the market either to collectors or to lower series teams. They go for about $30,000 a piece on average. As it stands right now, ARCA approved their teams to buy old Busch series cars so it'll be a while before they ever get to considering the COT. So when the Gen 1 & Gen 2 COT's get dumped, they'll probably be sold as scrap since nobody is racing them. Pennies on the dollar. Even the NNS cars that are being built from kits are Gen 2 or Gen 3 kits. A few teams, like Joe Nemechek's, converted some old Gen 1 COT's (The Winged Weewee's)to use for their NNS cars because they couldn't afford the current kits. Once those cars are used up, unless NASCAR forces them on the East & West Series, they're heading to the scrap yard.

  2. With the Costs rising like they are to enter races, get Hard Cards, etc I guess that the time when I could ride with a Monkey in the Car is over With!

    1. That they are. Not to mention that the number of hard cards a team can get for its members is limited so they can get more hard cards for their sponsors.

  3. Mike
    As usual a good article, glad you put the social media numbers in there, interesting stuff in this day and time.

    I dont think there is any need to worry about the EFI systems themselves. McLaren has proven over the years that they know what they are doing with race cars and technology. And the factories have more than enough engineers to tell the teams how to adjust things.

    The increased prices can be looked at two ways. While of course Nascar is getting rich off of them, isn't it another way for the teams to justify the costs of sponsorship? I doubt that ol' Jack went into his pocket for a dollar for any of the EFI cost.Ford probably picked up most if not all of it.

    As you know I sell used race cars on occasion, and have never had an inquiry about a COT. They all stay inside the Nascar circle. My guess is they will come up with a COT for the trucks. That would help them move more of the obsolete chassis.

    1. In this day and age, social media is becoming a big player in the scheme of things. Rather than having to call the networks and newspapers and having a press conference, one quick post on Twitter or Facebook and whatever news there is goes global in a matter of seconds rather than having to wait a day or two for it to go out via TV or newspaper.

      I have my doubts on the McLaren EFI system. I guess we'll see this weekend if my fears are justified. And with the cost being what they are, somebody is getting hosed. You're right about Roush. He probably didn't pay for it out of his pocket. But with the way sponsorship prices keep escalating and NASCAR contradicting itself about saving the teams money, something really needs to be done on bringing the cost down for a change.

      The generic race truck is supposed to be introduced in 2013 according to what Wayne Auton said back in 2010. This is sort of ridiculous as the manufacturers are all in for a major bodyline change on the street versions of the trucks in 2014. As it is, if you take the decals off the trucks, the Ford & Chevy look alike and the Dodge & Toyodor look alike. So they're close to having a generic truck as it is. You'd think that with the fan backlash over the COT in the Cup Series that they'd want to stay away from it for the Truck Series. especially as it's the only series whose ratings and attendance have continued to rise while the other two series have dropped.

  4. What to do with the 2012 cars? Simple, you build the World's Largest Merry Go Round! I mean think about it, 43 cars all lined up going in circles not passing anyone! The most realistic use of the cars I can think of

    1. That sounds like a winner Shadow. Let's copyright the idea before NASCAR does. Maybe make a few bucks off of it when NASCAR actually does it.

  5. Speaking of Pistone, I still haven't seen any follow-up from Pete Pistone @ CBS Sports, regarding the claims made by Little Red Vogt.

    And this nugget I found yesterday about Derrick Cope's pornstar wannabe twin daughters.

    I guess this isn't a good week for the lamestream media to blow NASCAR out of the water. Not that they'd ever dream of it.

    Don't worry Mikie, NASCAR doesn't even care about the 2012 season. The NASCAR 2012 season will be used solely to promote the 2013 NASCAR season, which I now declare a complete success.

    Soft porn and NASCAR. A match made in heaven.

    1. Hi Shayne,

      I posted something on Twitter yesterday regarding the soft core porn of the Cope sisters and not an eyebrow was raised. 10 years ago, Bill France Jr would've had a fit over something like that. But then, what do you expect. We've got NASCAR's celebrity spokesmodel and current "savior" doing similar things for one of her sponsors with suggested or implied sexuality. The Ivory Tower gang can't have somebody horning in on their savior's action so they "suggest" that the lamestream media ignore it. Which they've done so far. What the Cope twins have done fits right in the with professional wrestling image NASCAR seems to enjoy and even promote although they deny it. But then, the lamestream media seems to have missed the sworn affidavit from Steve O'Donnell, VP of racing Operations in which he states that "NASCAR is family oreiented sports entertauinment". There's a big difference from sports being entertainment and sports entertainment.

      I've chatted with Little Red Vogt before on Twitter and Facebook. Based on what I've read in "Driving With the Devil", what I know about the Staley brothers and the founding of North Wilkesboro Speedway. and the founding of NASCAR, Litte Red's claims are 100% accurate. One big omission from the history of the founding of NASCAR is about the meetings that were held at the Wilkes Hotel. I found out about these long before I chatted with Little Red from a member of the Staley family. Little Red confirmed the meetings took place there long before they Steamline Hotel meetings in Daytona. His father did coin the phrase "NASCAR". At one point, I believe that Bruton Smith was involved with NSCAR, the predecessor of NASCAR, as it's president before he served in the Army in Korea.

      From what I understand, there's not much love lost between Tiger Tom & Pete. Tom is Pete's uncle.

      2012 media-wise seems to be a repeat of 2011. When the new bodies are put on the COT next year, then we'll have all sorts of hype and hoopla about that. Getting back to the origins, making the cars look like "stock cars" again, etc. This year's media coverage will be wrapped around NASCAR's celebrity spokesmodel pretty much until we get to the play-offs.