Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blake's Takes: NASCAR's Fuel Injection? Well, It's a Start

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To me, the most exciting announcement to come out of Speed Weeks was in a bulletin released by NASCAR the Thursday before qualifying.

Or was it? We'll get to that later.

The news was that NASCAR, in a major break from the stock cars of 1948, finally decided to adopt fuel injection for its racing engines, replacing the venerable (and largely obsolete) carburetors, the primary device for mixing air and fuel on internal combustion engines since the dawn of time.

Problem is, all cars manufactured for street use in the United States (and just about everywhere else) began widespread of fuel injection in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The last factory-for-sale car to use a carburetor was a single model of the Subaru in 1991.

NASCAR's insistence on carburetor use was therefore mystifying, and evidence of the widening chasm between NASCAR and "stock" cars. Every other major form of motorsport uses some type of computerized mix-and-inject.

In fact, only one company makes the kind of carburetors used in NASCAR racing. The carbs therefore are pricey and require extensive machining in the team shops to make them work in specific applications.


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