NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup kicked off on Sunday night at Chicagoland Speedway and the race was highlighted by various engine troubles.
Playoff contender Joey Logano was the first racer to radio his crew to tell them that his Ford engine was about to fail. 40 laps later Logano pulled into the teams garage.
As he talked to his crew Logano proclaimed, “I don’t think I will be the last one to blow up today.” He couldn’t have been more right. Seven engines blew out during the 400-mile race while several racers managed to limp across the finish line with wounded engines.
After the race sixth-place finisher Jeff Gordon proclaimed: “I was worried. I don’t know how any engine made it.”
NASCAR drivers and their pit crews tuned their engines to race in high 60 degree temperatures but a 5-hour rain delay turned the race into a nighttime event with low 50-degree temps.
The Geico 500 race watched as cars “stuck like glue” to the course. The stickiness of the course caused higher than expected RPMs which caused racers to hit their rev limiter.
Racer Kevin Harvick says of the difficult racing conditions:
“There was a couple times three-quarters down the straightaway, hit on the rev limiter and I hadn’t touched it all weekend.”
Drivers who experienced engine blowouts included Logano and fellow Ford driver Timmy Hill; the Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Toyotas of Denny Hamlin, David Reutimann, Brian Vickers and Cole Whitt.
Greg Biffle’s Ford engine appeared low on power later in the race but he did not point to engine troubles after completing the race.
Following the race Jeff Gordon said NASCAR should allow teams to hook their cars up to electronic fuel injection system prior to going green for the night portion of the race. According to Gordon:
“I really think in a situation like this, NASCAR should let us plug in and make adjustments to these cooler temperatures. That’s just my opinion. I was all over the rev limiter, just hitting it like crazy. The pace was so fast that I’m just so thankful we’ve got Hendrick engines in there and that kind of reliability.”
Do you think Jeff Gordon is right? Should NASCAR allow for last minute engine adjustments following five hour day-to-night delays?