Dodge Comments On One-Engine Rule TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering) "It looked to me like they ran the same number of cycles in qualifying, and that's an area we're concerned about. The heat cycling is ...
Dodge Comments On One-Engine Rule
TIM CULBERTSON (Program Manager Dodge NASCAR Winston Cup Engineering)
"It looked to me like they ran the same number of cycles in qualifying, and that's an area we're concerned about. The heat cycling is something an engine doesn't like. I think you'll find the teams run fewer laps in practice, and this is a good test because this is a track where teams tend to run a lot of practice laps because of the way tires go away. Again, you want to set up your car here for the most average top speed you can over a set of tires. It'll be interesting to see how much they practice.
"It's a 400-mile race, and that's a long race, but I think the one-engine rule will be most challenged at tracks like Michigan and California. This is going to be a good, solid test. It should be tougher than Bristol or Richmond. The engine basically gets up to the same temperature no matter how cold it is, so the weather shouldn't enter into it.
"I think most of the Dodges just tightened up in practice. They had a good setup for midway, but when it came time to qualify it sounded like most of the Dodges developed a tight condition. These crew chiefs earn their money. To be able to have a setup they're happy with at a certain temperature and be able to change that to adapt to a particular time they're going to qualify is a real art."
DAYTONA 500 COMMENT
"You grow up and you know what the Daytona 500 means to you. You get a feel for what it is to the world, but when you win one, you really get to see what it's all about, and it's even bigger than I would have guessed. We're proud of what we accomplished there. Our second year, to be able to win the Daytona 500, and I must admit, we ran pretty strong there last year, too. We're very proud. We had about 2,000 employees showed up for the celebration at CTC. Ward Burton and Bill Davis and our winning Daytona truck team was there. We really are acting as one team. We're not just a Winston Cup program or a Craftsman Truck Program, we're a one-team program, a NASCAR program and we were able to celebrate together with all of our engineering friends that helped us with a test here or evaluating an oil there. It was a lot of fun."
COMMENT ON DODGE MILLION DOLLAR BONUS FOR CUP CHAMPION
"I think if we give that million dollar bonus away it's going to be worth $10 million to the Dodge brand, and I think that's a real coup on the part of Jim Julow (Vice President Dodge Division Global Brand Center) and the marketing guys. If we can win a championship for Dodge, that's huge. That's right up there with winning the Daytona 500. I think our guys would love to give that Viper and million dollars away if we could win the championship. It's a long season, and it's going to be an uphill battle, but we got off to a good start with Ward Burton winning the Daytona 500. Ward should have a good race here Sunday, too. We'll just wait and see what happens."
TONY SANTANICOLA (Head Engine Builder Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
"If the cars are handling decent, we probably won't go out and run that many laps in practice. If the car is handling decent, we'll just park it. We're not going to run just to run anymore. We lean on that qualifying motor hard in different ways. We're not doing that any more, so it is different. We're just not being as rough on the engine as we were. We're not building them differently, just treating them differently when we come to the race track.
"In years past, we've come to tracks like this with one motor before. When you don't have any money you do. When you work for Cale Yarborough you do stuff like that, and I built motors for him for 10 years. There's no reason to do it with this team. This is as good as you can do it.
"We'll build fewer motors this year. I don't see any reason why our engines won't go the distance. Last year, we'd run some of those motors 700 miles. After we'd race, we'd go test with them. I hope this won't be that big of a deal.
"The only tracks where we haven't done something like that are tracks like Atlanta. I'm going to be concerned at Atlanta. Our Atlanta engine is always fresh race morning because it's pretty hard on motors. Vegas doesn't bother me next week, but Atlanta does if they don't give us a practice motor. We might get a practice motor at Atlanta, but we're going to get one for sure at places like Pocono and the 600 at Charlotte. I don't know about Michigan and Atlanta yet. I put in my two cents yesterday for practice motors at those two tracks. They need to give us practice motors.
"I'll bet some teams are doing different stuff with the motors because of the one-engine rule. Some of the parts I've seen that some people run would scare me to run the whole time because they're on the edge. Our qualifying oil is pretty aggressive, and we didn't even use it. We used our race oil for qualifying because we were afraid it would be too hard on the cam. With a qualifier, we didn't worry about it. We'd just go back and change the lifters on it and go to the next track. You can't do that now.
"You can change the lifters, springs and rockers. After Happy Hour we're going to look at those and see what they look like, but we may not change anything if they look good. We'll probably end up putting springs on it just to be safer."
TERRY ELLEDGE (Head engine builder Bill Davis Racing)
"There's quite a few things we do different because of the one-engine rule. We try not to overheat the engine as much as we normally would. We try not to cool it down at the rate we normally would. We felt if we cooled the engine down at the same rate we warmed it up, what's the difference? If you're warming it up or cooling it down, it should be OK. You're going to get the same contraction rate and the same expansion rate. We figured we'd be OK about that. We just didn't abuse the engine as much as we normally would yesterday. I think everybody is tiptoeing through it to see what's going to happen. We used our standard race oil for qualifying. That's something we haven't done. We haven't used any type of qualifying oils or lighter oils because we have to run the thing.
"The first objective is obviously if we're going to put added mileage to the engine, there's no reason to do all these other things until we get time to understand what's happening with the added miles. There's no sense complicating the issue. That's our approach, see what happens with the extra mileage and adjust from there.
"If we run 100 miles of practice, I'm not concerned about that. Obviously if we go to Las Vegas next week and Atlanta the following week, if we can't make it 500 miles here, we're never going to finish Atlanta. We're not going to do a lot of maintenance to the engine here. We're just going to see what happens.
"The competition is going to drive what you do. It always has and always will. If the competition is putting qualifying oil in and rocker arms and everything they can do to qualify with, then we have to find a way to do it. The competition just dictates everything. You can change everything on the valve train you like, from the camshaft up, but you cannot change a cylinder head or valve. You can maintenance those pieces and we intend to do that from time to time depending on the length of the event.
"We thought the single-engine rule would be a good idea for the 400-mile races at Rockingham, Richmond, Sears Point, Bristol. The Atlantas and Poconos and 600s are a different story."
COMMENT ON BUILDING WINNING ENGINE FOR DAYTONA 500
"We're still riding high. It made my week a lot easier. I don't have too many more Daytona 500s left in me, so it's nice to be able to achieve that win. I'm happy for all the guys that work for me. I think a lot of people look at that race like we feel into it, and we did to a certain degree except for last year we led the most laps and got wrecked. This year, Ward was trying to be very conservative and only go when he had to. Just because everybody else wrecked themselves out, it's not our fault. We were there to take advantage of it. I was well-pleased with the job Ward did and the way he handled himself in the race. We were very lucky to miss all the wrecks, and it was a good weekend for us. Everything went our way, and I knew when Ward got in the clean air we were going to be good. It was a great deal.
"You're always worried about the cars behind you. You don't know what they're going to do. I've been down there with so many different teams, and we've led the last lap and different things have happened. I wasn't even going to think about it until I saw him come out of turn four on the last lap. I was with Earnhardt from 1992-1997. He should have won a lot of Daytona 500s as good as he was there. That shows you how circumstances can prevail.
"One year a little bracket fell off a bellhousing and cut down a tire. That was the year Derrike Cope won. It was a bracket you would never imagine would fall off of anything. That was one of the most bizarre things in the world, so you realize then that a lot of it is really up to fate.
"I'm 52 years old, and I don't know how many more years I'll be doing this. It just depends if I can stay competitive with everybody and how the single-engine rule plays out and how stressful it becomes.
"We've got 23 people in the engine department for both teams. I really don't know how many engines we'll build this year because of the single-engine rule. Typically we build about 150 motors a year. That will be down some. If you look at the direction NASCAR is going to go, roller cams may be in the future. We're looking at some ARCA things in order to prepare for that with the Dodge. We don't have much of a history with 'em. We're looking at some other things to fill in the void. We've got the capacity. We may as well use it for development.
"We built Tommy Baldwin's Busch motor for Daytona. That was more of a convenience thing. Because it was a Dodge and so much different tooling, we built it and it worked out to our benefit. We learned some things about it, and we're going to do a few more for Tommy. It's a good education for us with the roller cam. It's good experience.
"I think Ward is kind of underrated for Rockingham. If you look at race tracks where Ward is good at managing tires, this is one of 'em. Potentially, could he win tomorrow? Absolutely. He won his first race here, and he did well here last fall. We were right there, so anything's possible."