Ford Racing teams statements on 2002 engine rule

NASCAR released a statement on Sunday stating that engines used to qualify a car must be used in the race as well starting in 2002. Jack Roush and Robert Yates spoke about the new rule and how it will affect their operations. JACK...

NASCAR released a statement on Sunday stating that engines used to qualify a car must be used in the race as well starting in 2002. Jack Roush and Robert Yates spoke about the new rule and how it will affect their operations.

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- Roush Racing
What do you think about this one engine rule? "I think NASCAR is reacting to pressure from the teams, particularly the smaller teams that think it will save them money. The bigger teams have a good group of people and a lot of resources. They spend all their waking hours and all of their energies on making the best possible engines. If you race one time a year with one engine, you would still make the same amount of investment, I think, in development and testing to try to make that one engine the best. My most favorite race of my career has been the 24 hour races at Daytona, where you would go race for 3,000 miles with one engine. So, whether it's one engine or two engines -- some of the teams went through a cycle where they had qualifying engines that were so radical they would take them right out after qualifying and then put in a practice engine and a race engine. Whether it's one, two or three, it doesn't matter to me. It won't save me any money. We're still running the same number of miles that you would run otherwise. Valves only last so many miles, rods only last so many miles, blocks, head, pistons only last so many miles. Those parts get cycled out of one engine or two engines or three engines at the same time, so there certainly won't be any savings on labor and development, and very little savings on parts by doing that. It will place a premium on durability so that the engines have got to last, from a racing point of view, another 100 to 150 miles and I welcome that. I think that's just fine, but I don't think it will have any effect as far as the teams that are struggling now will continue to struggle. It won't upset the balance and it won't make things more competitive. It won't really save any money, except for the people that don't have a qualifying engine program. If they've got short development programs, they'll be able to focus on their race engines and not have to suffer over not having the time to worry over qualifying."

What will it do to the weekend? Will it save time tinkering? "It's the same amount of time that way. The only way that you'd have less time tinkering would be if you had less time on the race track. We burn in a set of racing spark plugs on Friday and typically qualify with those and then pick those out and race those, so that's one set of spark plugs. We run one intake manifold and one carburetor all weekend. That moves from engine to engine, so you're constantly working on your tune-up and we'll continue to do that. You will save some by not making an engine change and that's probably three hours of mechanical work with all the checks and things associated with that. You still need to make all your torque checks, your alignment checks and your maintenance and service checks on the car and the engine. Those will not be affected by the fact that the engine was changed."

Will the amount of manpower at the track change? "Theoretically, maybe. Practically, we won't take fewer people to the track. They'll have more down time. There could be a situation where, say for instance, if we do our Saturday practice in the morning before noon and we do our last practice around noon, that three hours will be saved in the afternoon. It could be a case where they could close the garage an hour earlier on Saturday evening and open it an hour later on Sunday morning. That would be a savings for the teams in the amount of time they have to spend at work. That would give them more time to put their feet up."

What about if you blow an engine after you qualify. Is it NASCAR's discretion if you go the rear of the field or not? "I guess it is. The last word in the rule book is 'except in rare instances' which means they can make any special judgements they want to at anytime, regardless of precedence or lack thereof. I think what NASCAR has in mind is if they see that a team comes in with an engine that was too radical and wasn't a 500-mile durable engine, they might make the decision to even disallow the qualifying.

"The thing they don't want to have happen is people come in with radical engines and send home folks that came to race for 500 miles. You could come in with a radical engine, run 100 miles and break in the race. If they have the feeling that was gonna happen, or once that's happened, then they would take a very hard position with that team."

ROBERT YATES, Car Owner -- Robert Yates Racing
What do you think about the one engine rule? "We've talked about it for a couple of years now, it seems like. On one hand, I really didn't care because a lot of our development comes from qualifying engines and it's fun. I enjoy that side of it because I like to try a lot of stuff. On the other hand, though, I also have to pay the bills and it's getting a little out of hand. We put a lot of money on the shelf, where we try something and put it away and don't use it. It's ineffective dollars spent. When it's all said and done, the rule won't change how good the show is. Nobody in the grandstand will know the difference. But we're getting way too crazy with that stuff. Financially, we've spent a lot of dollars that are really unnecessary to make a good show. When I put my business hat on, it makes a lot of sense to go to one engine."

It will save you money? "Oh, sure. It will redirect our funds. We'll pretty much spend all the money we can get our hands on. It's not like we were gonna be able to put some in the bank."

What about if you blow an engine like yesterday with ricky? "I think it's pretty much known, unless you've already qualified real bad, and you have a problem you're going to the rear. Like yesterday, we had a brand new engine in and something wasn't happy, so it gobbled it up and threw a piston out of it. That's a big deal. We hate to lose an engine and I'm sure Jeff Burton hated to wreck his car because of it. We hate that also, but with this rule we would be starting in the rear and would be moving back 25 more spots, which you never want to do here."

Is that fair? "We know the rules. It's just like the one-round qualifying deal. That caused us to take the first provisional for the 88 car -- ever -- because they didn't have a second-round chance, but it's certainly been more productive on Saturdays for us than having the two rounds. The biggest thing we're gonna sweat is, 'Is there something wrong or isn't there something wrong?' We'll have the bore scopes and have more people with things looking into the engine to really check it out before you decide to change it. Right now, if there's any question we just say 'change it'. With this new rule, we'll go to extreme means to make sure there's a good reason to change it."

-Ford Racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing