One engine rule starts at Rockingham

One Engine Rule Translates Into One Big Unknown HIGH POINT, NC - This weekend's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway is the start of NASCAR's new one engine rule. Teams will now have to race the same engine they qualify and practice with or...

One Engine Rule Translates Into One Big Unknown

HIGH POINT, NC - This weekend's Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway is the start of NASCAR's new one engine rule. Teams will now have to race the same engine they qualify and practice with or face being relegated to the back of the starting grid for the race.

It is a new rule that has left many teams with the uncertainty of how well they'll fair in reliability. Terry Elledge, veteran engine builder for Bill Davis Racing, admits there are some concerns, but will continue to put 150% into the new engine rule.

"Back in the 70's, we used to run one engine the entire weekend, and then we progressed all the way to the 90's when we began making practice, qualifying and race engines," said Elledge. "Back then we had less to worry about, but know we turn more RPM's, have more power and the components inside the engines are a lot lighter. A lot has changed since then and it makes it very difficult to predict what is going to work and what isn't.

"Our biggest concern is the cam and lifter wear. Every time you start and stop the engine over the course of the weekend it wears on the flat tappet cam. If we can minimize the starting of the engine and the idling time, then we will increase the life of the engine. "We've been looking at those issues. We've been trying to redesign the lubricating system inside the engine that specifically lubricates those parts that would have a lot of wear. We are currently working on new components to help with the parts that will have an increased amount of wear."

Elledge understands the reason behind the one engine rule - cost cutting and time at the track - and thinks that it is here to stay. That is unless there is an increased amount of cars changing motors prior to the race or if drivers that experience problems express their concerns.

"I think it can work, we'll just need to work through the challenges in the next few weeks. I applaud the decision at tracks like Rockingham, Bristol, Darlington, Richmond and even Dover. My concern lies with the larger tracks like Atlanta, Michigan, Fontana and certainly Charlotte. Those tracks put a lot of miles on the engine and I'm not sure if we can make it all those miles.

"We're planning to go to Rockingham with an engine very similar to the one we ran last fall. We will use this weekend as a test and see how it wears over the course of the weekend. We'll bring it back and tear everything apart and see if there are some minor areas that we can improve upon.

"We already have our Las Vegas engines about done and we won't change a lot about them either unless we find something after this weekend that needs to be improved. As for Atlanta, I am holding off on those engines until we see how things go the next few weeks."

With all of the unknowns with how the new one engine rule will affect the reliability of the engines at Bill Davis Racing, one thing is certain Elledge won't sleep at night until he is certain his engines will provide increased horsepower and reliability for both the Caterpillar and Hills Bros. Coffee racing teams.

"The fear of the unknowns has got me a little concerned. We'll just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best."

-bdr/hs-

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Series Automotive , NASCAR Cup
Teams Bill Davis Racing