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$CAR: 2,504,183 Facebook Likes
WWE: 7,753,565 Facebook Likes
John Cena: 10,403,001 Facebook Likes
The Walking Dead: 6,011,882 Facebook Likes
ARCA: 6,167 Facebook Likes
NHRA: 314,963 Facebook Likes
Survivor: 2,591,134 Facebook Likes
Top Gear America: 109,176 Facebook Likes
SCCA: 6,706 Facebook Likes
Dale Jr: 1,240,400 Facebook Likes
Ferrari: 137,499 Facebook Likes
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: 439,555 Facebook Likes
Roush Fenway Racing: 32,161 Facebook Likes
Carl Edwards: 201,149 Facebook Likes
Lotus F-1 Team: 14,934 Facebook Likes
Speed TV Channel: 291,197 Facebook Likes
Jeff Gordon: 418,032 Facebook Likes
US Air Force: 699,976 Facebook Likes
USMC: 2,105,440 Facebook Likes
NASCAR TRUCKS 24,429
NASCAR NNS 33.464
NASCAR Hometown Tracks 14,533
NASCAR on Focks 76,667
Jabber Jaws 71,897
Brad Keselowski 59,330
Jimmie Johnson 126,204
Matt Kenseth 39,678
Daytona International Speedway 24,304
Front Row Motorsports 3,686
Robby Gordon 33,400
Wendy Venturini 38,912
John Daly (The Daly Planet) 7,829
Bristol Motor Speedway 15,891
Orange Cone 9,745
The Catch Fence 1,047
Jet Dryer 1,044
Not Bruton Smith 375
Not Brian France 1,108
Wood Brothers 7,984
Dale Jr 42,024 * Hasn’t sent out a single Twitter
Ken Schrader 7,667
Tony Kanaan 438,476
Pippa Mann 9,870
Indy Motor Speedway 24,677
Simona de Silvestro 15,142
Penske Racing 19,764
Formula 1 208,029
Lotus F-1 Team 72,873
Scuderia Ferrari (F-1 team) 189,447
So what does this say? Everything and nothing. NA$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.
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”.
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.