The Week in Ford Racing May 14, 2002 NASCAR Busch Grand National Not only has Ford Racing been on a roll, winning the last five Busch Series races and eight of the season's first 11, but Robert Yates Racing has also been in Victory Lane each...
The Week in Ford Racing May 14, 2002
NASCAR Busch Grand National
Not only has Ford Racing been on a roll, winning the last five Busch Series races and eight of the season's first 11, but Robert Yates Racing has also been in Victory Lane each of the last five races. Both ppc Racing and Team Rensi use Yates-supplied motors, and together those organizations account for more than half of wins in the series with six. Robert Yates Racing made its return to the Busch Series in 2001, supplying engines to Jeff Green at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and then expanded that business this season to include not only ppc Racing and Team Rensi, but its own team with driver Kasey Kahne. Doug Yates, the chief engine builder for Robert Yates Racing, spoke about the string of success that his engines have had in the Busch Series so far this season.
DOUG YATES, Chief Engine Builder-Robert Yates Racing
THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THAT YATES HAS PROVIDED ENGINES TO BUSCH SERIES TEAM. WHY WAS THE DECISION MADE LAST YEAR TO RETURN TO THE SERIES AS AN ENGINE SUPPLIER? "Off and on through the years, we've done some Busch engines. In 1995, we did Dale Jarrett's engines and we had some pretty good success; Dale won six races that year. We did it for Dale and Mike Wallace and they both did really well. Then we got out of it; it didn't make sense for us to keep going. We just changed our program around a little bit, so we've had some prior experience and success through the years at doing it. Last year, at the end of the year, we were thinking that NASCAR - every year they flirt with this roller cam, 390-carburetor rule package - so we figured it was in our best interest to get back in the Busch Series to be on top of the roller cam valvetrain and 390-carburetor rule. So, last year we made the decision to try to expand our business to do Busch engines and that's kinda our reasoning to getting back in it. And, we've got hooked up with some really good teams with ppc and Rensi, and we've got our own program with Kasey Kahne and it's going pretty well for us."
DID YOU SOLICIT BUSCH SERIES TEAMS TO BECOME THEIR ENGINES SUPPLIERS OR WERE YOU SOUGHT OUT? "They came to us. We do a lot of customer-based Winston Cup engines and that was going pretty well. I think that Harold Holly from ppc recognized that, he talked to the guy that was running our engine program in Mooresville and he asked us to do it. We saw what the change in economy in the Winston Cup garage was and we thought that we might want to expand our business and do some stuff over there, and that's how it kinda developed."
YATES-SUPPLIED TEAMS HAVE WON THE LAST FIVE BUSCH SERIES RACES. DID YOU EXPECT TO SEE THAT KIND OF DOMINANT SUCCESS IN THE SERIES SO SOON? "I think we're still a little scared to talk about the success that we see over there. We had good success leasing engines in the Cup series and we put together what I thought was going to be a good start-from-scratch, hire the best people we could find to build these Busch engines. And with our development department working on them, I thought we would do well, but to win five races in a row, that's a little bit unbelievable and it's something that may never be matched. We're real pleased with it and it's going real well but it's a big tribute to the guys driving them. You have to have your engines in good cars and ppc has won championships and competes for championships every year. We thought they would run well, but the Rensi deal is a pleasant surprise. I'm really happy for Sam and Ed Rensi because they really deserve it. They are really committed to the sport and they wanted to make sure they could do everything possible to put a competitive car on that track every week. They've had a lot of struggles in their racing ventures, but it's good to see those guys running good, and I'm glad we could help them do that."
IS THERE ANY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER BETWEEN THE TWO SERIES' ENGINES WITH THE RULES PACKAGE BEING SO SIMILAR NOW? "Sure, they are pretty much the same engines now with the rules the Busch Series adopted last year. Every week you learn a little bit different about the way components are stressed at different race tracks, so this is a continuous learning cycle for us with continuous improvement. We learn about something every weekend that we run and apply it to our engines, whether it's Cup or Busch, the following week. And, like I said, the reason that we're doing this is if NASCAR goes to roller cams and 390 carburetors, we want to be on top of our game. That was the whole reasoning. Pretty much everything we do boils down to trying to figure out how to make this 28 and 88 and Robert Yates Racing cars win races, and that's part of it."
DID THE SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE ENGINE PACKAGES AND THE NEW ONE-ENGINE RULE ON THE CUP SIDE INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO RETURN TO THE BUSCH SERIES AS AN ENGINE SUPPLIER? "It sure did. We're in the process of building a new facility in Mooresville to house our expanding engine organization. We wanted to try to diversify and get into different markets and with running one engine a weekend in the Busch, that experience there helps the Cup thing and vice versa. Other than racing cars, what we do and enjoy doing is building engines, whether it's a Winston Cup engine, Busch engine or an engine for Le Mans, that's what we really like to do. You've got to be successful in every venture you do to get future business, and right now, our engine supplying part is going well."
HAS THE ONE-ENGINE RULE ON THE CUP SIDE BEEN MORE OF A STRUGGLE THAN YOU ORIGINALLY ANTICIPATED? "We had some problems earlier this year that were unrelated to the one-engine rule. They were just mistakes, if you will. I really like the one-engine rule and I think it's working well for everybody. It's surprising to see people at a race like Fontana and have very few failures. You've probably had less failures this year than you did last year up to this point. I think the one-engine rule is working good for the series. It's working so good that Formula 1 is switching to it. It does contain some costs; but then again, you pretty much have to have an all-new engine all the time, so it's not as much of a cost savings as people thought. It's more probably of a workload savings than a parts-cost savings."