FedEx Championship Series
CART'S VERSION OF RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING, THE HANDFORD DEVICE, RETURNS IN THE SEASON ENDING MARLBORO 500 AT THE CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND.
EACH MAJOR MOTORSPORT SERIES PRESCRIBES TO A DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHY IN RELATION TO SLOWING CARS DOWN IS. IN NASCAR, IT'S DONE WITH RESTRICTOR PLATES, FORMULA ONE ACCOMPLISHES THE TASK WITH NARROW CHASSISES AND GROOVED TIRES, AND IN CART, A MODIFIED REAR WING KNOWN THAT INCORPORATES THE HANDFORD DEVICE IS THE METHOD OF CHOICE.
THE HANDFORD DEVICE, OR HANDFORD WING, CREATED BY MARK HANDFORD OF SWIFT ENGINEERING, IS A DEVICE THAT IS AFFIXED TO THE REAR WING OF ALL CHAMP CARS WHICH REDUCES THE DOWNFORCE OF THE CAR IN THE CORNERS AND INCREASES STRAIGHTAWAY DRAG. THUS, GREATER DRIVER SKILL IS REQUIRED TO CORNER FAST WHILE TRIMMING TOP SPEED.
IAN BISCO, VICE-PRESIDENT, COSWORTH RACING AND PAUL STANECKI, AERODYNAMICS MANAGER, ADVANCED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY, FORD MOTOR COMPANY TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF RACING WITH THE HANDFORD DEVICE, EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCES IN AERODYNAMIC RESTRICTION VERSUS INTAKE RESTRICTION, AND HOW THE HANDFORD DEVICE HAS INCREASED THE EXCITEMENT OF SUPERSPEEDWAY RACING.
IAN BISCO, VICE PRESIDENT, COSWORTH RACING NORTH AMERICA - WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES RELATING TO THE HANDFORD DEVICE THAT CAME OUT OF THE MICHIGAN RACE? "The biggest problem we had was getting the engine RPM's correct. If you were without a draft you were not pulling as many RPM's and if you got a draft you had a tendency to over-rev the engine so it was a very delicate balance to actually find a suitable operating range. Consequently, you would find a lot of the drivers shifting between fifth and sixth gear all the time. It's almost like with the Handford Device, you need another gear in there. But, the problem there being if you move up the gearing have better gear coverage area in the Handford Wing high-speed area, you end up jeopardizing your position in the restarts."
DO YOU THINK THAT USING AERODYNAMIC DEVICES OVER FURTHER LIMITING ENGINE PERFORMANCE IS A BETTER WAY TO SLOW THE CARS DOWN? "Definitely. To slow a car down from the speeds they are attaining now on superspeedways you would need to take a huge amount of horsepower away from the engines. Roughly speaking, to knock 10 mph off you would need to decrease the engines output by about 100-horsepower. If you take that sort of power away from the engine, the cars will be quite a bit slower on many of the other tracks we race on. Cost is another factor. If you had a restrictor on the engine it would demand a great deal of development time and cost to engineer the engine to work under a restrictor-based rule.
Costs would go up astronomically. You would have all of the engine manufacturers having to develop special engines to work under a restrictor-plate-type or restricted orifice situations. Once you get to that point the cars would be very dead, very unlovely, they would take a long time to wind up to speed, like they do in NASCAR, and once they got to speed the drivers would be pretty hard pressed to pass somebody.
If you didn't have the Handford Device, the cars would be very slippery, aerodynamically speaking, and would not have the effect of the draft as you do in NASCAR racing. Because the power is so similar, if the cars don't have something like the Handford Device, the teams would set the cars up so they are very slippery, which will make them go faster, but at the same time, it also makes the cars very nervous. The cars, without something like the Handford Device, wouldn't create a situation where they would give good tows for cars behind. So, if CART had gone to a type of restrictor plate type device, I think the driver in front may run away with the race simply because it would be so difficult to pass."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LEARNED FROM THE U.S. 500 THAT SURPRISED YOU IN RELATION TO THE HANDFORD DEVICE "Not really. There is not specifically anything that surprised us, or that we can say that we wish we would have done. With any 500-mile race, with or without the Handford Device, engine durability is always an issue. The Handford Device does make then engine work harder. There will be more sustained full-throttle periods when you run the Handford Device because there is more of a load, because of the wing's design, that is put on the engine. So, durability and being able to make horsepower will be very important. However, if our Michigan experience is any indication we should be in good shape. The Ford-Cosworth XD engine was on the pole in Michigan and powered 5 of the top-ten cars to the finish. We have certainly done work to improve on our Michigan performance, but I guarantee the other engine manufacturer's have as well."
PAUL STANECKI, AERODYNAMICS MANAGER, ADVANCED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY, FORD MOTOR COMPANY -- WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN INTAKE RESTRICTION WHICH IS USED IN NASCAR AND AERODYNAMIC RESTRICTION, WHICH CART EMPLOYS, AS A MEANS OF SLOWING THE CARS DOWN? "In NASCAR, you are limiting the capabilities of the car. The car could still go faster if you gave it more engine. You are not letting the horse run, you are tripping it and constantly keeping it that way. So what happens is the cars stay lined up and that's how they race because they don't have enough power to pull away from one another. Usually, Winston Cup cars have more power than tire, however in a restrictor-plate race, they have more tire than power, relativity speaking.
In CART, what you have done is take the rear downforce off the car. The car could still go faster if you had the downforce to put the power down where in NASCAR, the drivers have their foot to the floor all around the track and in CART, they don't. CART drivers are lifting and still driving the cars around the track because, of the Handford Device, there is no way to get power, or traction, down to the ground."
WHY, FOR CART, DO YOU THINK AERODYNAMIC RESTRICTION WAS THE WAY TO GO? "You can't turn the boost down on these cars because you are almost down to the controllable limit of the boost as it is. So, the next thing was the attempt was the Handford Device because it is something that you could put on all of the cars that is easily controlled. If you would have gone to a type of restrictor plate system you would have the same thing that has happened in NASCAR where you have restrictor plate and non-restrictor plate engines. To do that in CART, you are talking about a phenominal amount of money to develop that type of engine. Currently we only run one engine for every track."
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BENEFITS OF THE HANDFORD DEVICE ARE? "It brought an element back into driving that hasn't been there for quite some time. You use to be able to get power by having a good car or a good engine, but now you can get, not necessarily power, but the essence of power, with the ability to pass by hanging around other cars. You can now slingshot with the aerodynamics that this device possesses. It has really opened up another opportunity for drivers to pass one in and still allows them to continue to drive the cars and work the throttle."
THE FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES COMES TO A CLOSE THIS WEEKEND AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY. HOWEVER, THERE WILL BE AN EXTRA INCENTIVE FOR THE 28 DRIVERS COMPETING IN FONTANA WITH A MILLION DOLLARS GOING TO THE WINNING DRIVER.
WITH SUCH A LARGE CHUNK OF CHANGE UP FOR GRABS, WE WONDERED HOW MANY OF THEIR FAVORITE PRODUCTS THE WINNING DRIVER COULD BUY.
Product Amount/ $1million Texaco Havoline Oil (Case) 76,923 Miller Lite (6-Pack) 166,945 Tecate Beer (Case) 37,050 Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable 51 Goodyear Racing Tires (Set of 4) 833 FedEx Overnight Letter from Dearborn, MI to Los Angeles, CA 74,074 Firestone Firehawk GTA Passenger Car Tires (Set of 4) 3,205 Nicoderm Patch (7 Pack) 33,344 Shell Gas (Gallons) 806,452 Visteon Audio Systems 1500 On a trip to K-Mart . . . Duracell "AA" Batteries (4 Pack) 257,069 Coca-Cola (12 Pack) 334,448 Gilette Mach 3 Razors 161,550