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Engine Changes and Unleaded Fuel coming UPDATE #5 Before the end of the 2006 racing season, NASCAR officials hope to have both Busch and truck series teams using unleaded fuel. And if all goes well, it's likely that unleaded gas will be used in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2007.

"We don't know where we're going to be with [unleaded fuel for the Cup series]," Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said April 20. "We said by '08. ... If the tests look promising, we will re-evaluate the timeline.

"We are going to, before the end of the year, run unleaded fuel in some select races, probably in the Busch and truck series. Some of their races are stand-alones, [on] short tracks and things of that nature. You're looking at less mileage, smaller carburetors, less horsepower."

NASCAR teams have always used leaded fuel, and is exempt from the Clean Air Act of 1970 requiring unleaded fuel be used in all automobiles.  NASCAR Daily Scene

03/13/05 Do-able’? That’s what Jack Roush said in regard to finally making the NASCAR transition from leaded to unleaded fuels. Environmental groups have renewed longstanding demands for NASCAR to make the change recently. “It’s just a matter of when we bite the bullet and decide it’s time,” said Roush. “There will be some ‘hiccups.’ It will cost some money for the development and change in parts, but it’s a definitely a ‘do-able deal.” Shelby Star 

03/04/05 Environmentalists have blown a gasket over the NASCAR's continued use of leaded gasoline in its stock car races. Since NASCAR has science and safety on its side, I hope it has the good sense not to cave in to this eco-harassment. The Clean Air Trust "urged" NASCAR in a Jan. 19 letter to consider the supposedly dire consequences of using leaded fuel: "By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency." Lead was eliminated from most gasoline in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1990, however, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from the lead ban. The exemptions made sense since no one wanted airplanes falling from the sky because of stalled engines and auto racing would only add an insignificant amount of lead to the environment. NASCAR engines run on a high performance fuel designed exclusively for competition called 110 Leaded Racing Gasoline. Not only does the "Official Fuel of NASCAR" make stock cars run better, but its components make it resistant to explosion, which naturally makes things safer for drivers in racing accidents. JunkScience at FoxSports

03/01/05 NASCAR is under fire from environmentalists for using leaded gasoline more than six years after the Environmental Protection Agency asked the stock car racing industry to switch to unleaded. "By permitting the continued use of lead, your organization may be putting millions of spectators and nearby residents at unnecessary risk of suffering serious health effects," the environmental group Clean Air Watch said in a recent letter to NASCAR chairman Brian France. "Because of the clear public health threat, lead is being eliminated from gasoline throughout most of the world," the letter said. "If Kazakhstan can eliminate lead from gasoline, why can't NASCAR?" The elimination of lead in gasoline in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s and in the rest of the world in recent years is considered one of the great public health victories of the 20th century. Lead levels in the blood of U.S. children have dropped dramatically as a result. In 1990, Congress exempted the aviation and racing industries from EPA regulations on the lead content of gasoline. NASCAR has "looked into and will continue to look into making the switch to unleaded," but has not been able to find an alternative additive to lead, which lubricates engine valves, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "Without being able to keep the valves lubed, the engines don't work as well." Rocky Mountain News

01/20/05 NASCAR's "engine of the future" project may have hit another roadblock, according to Ford team owner Jack Roush, who says that fellow engine builder Doug Yates tells him NASCAR's plan would be a disaster for Ford teams. NASCAR will hold another planning meeting with Detroit executives next week to try to put some specific numbers on the 40 engine parameters NASCAR would like to pin down, to keep engine designers in a box. "I don't know what the latest iteration of the 'engine of the future' might be, but when Toyota came in (two years ago), they (NASCAR) gave Toyota more than they meant to," Roush said. "Toyota negotiated very well, and they basically obsoleted every other engine". Winston Salem Journal

01/13/05 NASCAR also began to put out word that it will ask the car factories to begin thinking about a new engine platform for introduction in the next two or three years. It was not stated whether this move indicates a move toward a more "common" engine, much as NASCAR has done with the car bodies since 2002. Even with Ford's having received cylinder heads with equivalent port heights for 2003, there remain significant differences between the engines of the three makes. Dodge, for example, has a shorter crank-to-cam dimension, allowing for shorter stroke and higher rpm. Dodge (and Toyota, in Trucks) has had the only "blueprint" engine introduced to NASCAR. The Ford and Chevrolet engines are loosely based on ancient small-block V8 designs -- Chevy's 350 and Ford's 351 -- having hence evolved over 35 years into what amount to pedigree racing engines. Unleaded fuel appears to be the prime mover, although most say that issue could be resolved on the present platform. NASCAR garage chief John Darby said all issues are on the table, although it appears unlikely NASCAR would move directly to a modern, factory-type injected engine. "We will look at any areas," he said. "Is the compression ratio right? Is the cubic inch right? Do we need eight cylinders or do we need 20?" Speed Channel

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