Dodge Motorsports interview: Travis Geisler

Dodge Motorsports press release

Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge
Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

TRAVIS GEISLER (Director of Competition, Penske Racing)

“Actually the days are getting smoother and smoother with the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) I guess. I think that’s probably the gist of it, regardless of what track we’ve been on. The more we work with it, the smoother the tests have gone. We went to Fontana and had a pretty good test out there. We had a couple small issues with the fuel system. I guess it was just the difference of having a fuel system with such high pressure compared to what we had before. We’re still working through some of the details of that, but in general, I’d say things have been smoothing out. Our test today at Talladega has been real smooth. We’ve had very little issues with it. To be honest with you, I think the bigger the track the easier it is for us right now. The small tracks where the drivers are doing a lot of hard throttle work and they’re asking the engine to be super-smooth to keep the rear tires hooked up, that’s where we’re working on getting the drivers happier. But when you get to a big track where it’s just a wide-open deal, it’s been really good.”

AS YOU LOOK AT THE CALENDER, ARE YOU CONTENT WITH WHERE YOU STAND IN PREPARATION WITH THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY NEXT SEASON? “Well, certainly anytime you have something this big, it’s always a little bit unnerving. It’s always the thing that you didn’t think of early enough that you’re worrying about. I think with the help of Dodge Motorsports, everybody at Penske engines and all the guys at the car shop working to get all the pieces put together, we’re making good progress. Everyone thinks electronic fuel injection is an engine shop project; well, there’s a ton of stuff on the car side that’s changing as well. The fuel pumps and the way that’s all going to work, the tank, the way you have to have a chassis wiring harness for the EFI, that’s all different. The mounting, everything in the car to make sure that you have anti-vibration mounts on some of the real sensitive electronics and getting the mechanics used to having to work with having that much wiring around them is a factor. It’s all stuff that we’re phasing into. I think that we’d all like to be further along, but I feel like we’re in a really good spot right now going into 2012.”

WILL FUEL MILEAGE BE ABOUT THE SAME WITH THE EFI NEXT SEASON? “Well, I think there is an opportunity for the fuel mileage to be much more variable than in the past. So far, it’s much more of a tuning tool. You can really decide what your fuel mileage is going to be depending on what type of map you want. It’s similar to a carburetor that way, but seems like with the carburetor, you give up overall performance when you go for fuel mileage. There are some things you can do with the electronic fuel injection that can improve your fuel mileage. When you’re off throttle, what’s it doing? A carburetor will continue to suck a little vacuum and pull some fuel in that hurts your mileage. Now, you can cut that almost completely out so that the engine isn’t taking any fuel on. I think that the mileage you’ll see will be a little bit better than what we had this past season. I think it’ll be a moving target as we all get smarter with how to tune and use it. I think you’ll kind of see it progress throughout the season for sure.”

IS EFI TESTING AT ONE PARTICULAR TRACK MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANOTHER? ARE THEY ALL EQUALLY IMPORTANT? “I think they’re all equally important, but I do think the shorter tracks are where you’re really going to have to work the hardest because the driver is modulating the throttle the most. Like I said, at Talladega once you’re wide open, the drivers aren’t really giving you a lot of feedback about throttle response and how smooth they can modulate in and out of the throttle to keep the rear tires hooked up. Probably, the ultimate challenge would be the road courses where the drivers are constantly in and out of the throttle. I think that’s really when you’ll see who has their systems well dialed in and who is still working through it.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags dodge, efi, geisler, talladega