Time for a ‘greener’ NASCAR? Fuel injection is coming

One of the biggest complaints most fans seem to have about stock cars is, well, that they aren’t stock anymore. But the word on the streets is that beginning in 2011, NASCAR will take one step closer to "stock" by converting to electronic fuel injection. As production vehicles haven’t had carburetors since 1989, one could argue that this change is long overdue. Jeff Gordon certainly seems to think so. "I’ve been asking for fuel injection for 10 years, so that would be huge," he said last year at Richmond.

What’s the big deal about fuel injection? Well, a better fuel-to-air mixture, better fuel economy, and "better throttle response," according to my husband, whose old muscle car we recently converted to fuel injection. (And my credit card did not spontaneously combust!) So, big improvement, right?

Perhaps not. Seems the nature of NASCAR racing may cancel out the efficiency argument.
"We spend so much time at wide open throttle that more than likely it will come with the fuel issues off-throttle," NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton, pictured at right, has said. Even if you add ethanol fuel, which is still being kicked around, that doesn’t help any, because ethanol provides less energy, and so you have to use more of it. There are also durability issues to consider, and most importantly, the problem of making sure that teams can’t use the new electronics to gain unfair advantage.

So, why is NASCAR really making the conversion? Political correctness, courting more foreign manufacturers, or just making sure the guys with deep pockets keep all the advantages? I’ll leave it up to you all to decide.

Time for a ‘greener’ NASCAR? Fuel injection is coming

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