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DATE News (chronologically)
08/22/09
nascar
Lee White rips NASCAR over carburetors  Toyota's Lee White, head of the car maker's NASCAR operations told MikeMulhearn.net that fuel injection could easily be "implemented across the board in all three divisions (Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup) by next February at Daytona."

“Yes, I'm in favor of it," White said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I would vote for it, absolutely, without question."

White, like Chevy's Pat Suhy, says a changeover could be done very quickly.

“Any competent engine builder could go to Wolfgang Hustedt (motorsports manager for Bosch) and buy a controller and 10 injector nozzles and have it running in a couple of days, and have it ready to rock and roll in a couple of weeks.

“It's very easy to do, and it's very inexpensive to do.

“And if it's done correctly, there could be a revenue stream for NASCAR – because they could control and lease the units (to the teams)."

Why fuel injection? Why now?

“I think, if you want my opinion, that fuel injection is one of two or three things that NASCAR could consider, in conjunction with the four manufacturers – who are important to get engaged in the discussion – that could lower costs," White said.

“I don't want to lobby in the media for anything, but there are some things that could be considered, that could lower costs, improve competition, and potentially appeal to a new and younger audience – and give us a chance to grow this sport over the next decade, rather than watch it erode by double-digit numbers as it has the last two.

“I'm not talking about attracting new car makers (like BMW and Honda); I'm talking about attracting people in the grandstands. And to do that, you'll have to appeal to a younger audience – who turn on a computer every day, who have never heard of a carburetor.

“Fuel injection could be an integral part of that, along with several other things I have in mind…though I'm not prepared to lobby for them away from the other manufacturers and NASCAR."

"Because fuel injection would manage fuel much more efficiently, you can paint it green," White said.

“And you could run this system with plates (currently used to slow speeds at Daytona and Talladega)."

Among the pluses:

"Everyone right now is spending an absolute fortune on something that has zero application in real life, with these carburetion systems…an insane amount of money," White says.

“Just watch these cars go into the first turn and look at all (unused) fuel belching out the tailpipes….that's wasted fuel that's going into the grandstands -- with lead poisoning. You could eliminate about 90 percent of that with fuel injection.

“So there's a definite benefit – especially for the health of the people sitting in the grandstands."

“NASAR is really early in deciding which (fuel injection) system…there are a lot of systems out there, and it would be very easy to pick the wrong one," White said. "So I would encourage NASCAR to get engaged with the manufacturers.

"I would say at least 10 different systems are being sourced by teams, bolted on engines and being run. And the one being used the most is one that almost anyone can cheat – traction control, rev limiting.

“Now being engaged with the teams (about this particular issue) may be logical for NASCAR, and comfortable. But the four manufacturers in this sport are going to survive or die over the next couple of decades based on their ability to go green. It's being mandated by the U.S. government. We have to do that.

“Look at all the stuff GM and Ford and Fiat-Chrysler are coming out with. So these car makers ought to be holding hands with NASCAR over this."

How much would be obsoleted?

“We're not talking about a new engine, we're not talking about new blocks or new heads, or even changing the manifolds….nobody could afford that," White says.

“You can certainly do things with the existing architecture that could reduce costs, increase durability, decrease horsepower – and that would make for better racing, because everyone agrees that reducing horsepower would make for better racing.

“And we could make this more appealing to a broader, younger audience, and give us some longevity over the next decade.

“And I speak from experience -- In my 40 years I've seen Trans-Am come and go, I've seen Formula 5000 come and go, I've seen Can-Am come and go, I've seen IMSA come and go….I've seen CART go from where it thought it was going to take over the world from Formula One and now it doesn't even exist any more.

“Honestly, if we don't think about those things – when we're losing double-digit numbers in TV and in the grandstands – we need to think about where the sport is going to be in 10 years.

“There's a lot of room for us to talk here…and fuel injection is just part of it.

“This would improve the relevance of what we do here, compared to what is out on the road. So we would be foolish not to be in favor of this.

“I also think there are other things that could be implemented too that would make it where in five years we could actually be racing products that are more production-related, more relative to what we drive on the street – which would make this more appealing to a broader audience.

“To appeal to those people 15 to 20 years old right now, I think this would matter – that this have some relevance to real life."
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