|Roush Yates CEO Doug Yates|
Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates says those changes will result in a long offseason of work for Sprint Cup Series engines builders.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead,” said Yates. “The engine configuration as we know it is going to change considerably, and what that means is a different camshaft. They’re going from flat tappet to roller lifter, which is a step in the right direction for longevity. But the cam design, the cylinder head, intake manifold and exhaust system – all of those things that are related to air-flow – (are) going to have to be developed and tested over the winter to have a package that’s ready to go race next March in Atlanta. At the same time, they’re reducing the horsepower target (by) 125 and they’re also reducing the RPM from 9,500 today to 9,000 RPM going forward.
“There are a lot of changes and a lot of work ahead.”
Yates applauded NASCAR for not mandating a total engine redesign, saying, “(NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development) Gene Stefanyshyn and the guys at NASCAR have done a good job of talking to the engine builders and trying to get our input and feedback on how we would like to go. That process went through many different ways of reducing power, but at the end of the day, I think we have made a good decision and a good cost-effective decision… for the engine shops, the teams and the sport. There are a lot of ways you can do it, but this makes sense for the current engine we have today.”
NASCAR’s engine package for Daytona and Talladega remains unchanged for 2015, and while engine builders have six months before NASCAR’s first non-superspeedway race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015, Yates said, “There’s never enough time. We would work as hard as possible no matter when they told us, so I think NASCAR is trying to do a better job of getting the rules out. They targeted September (to release the new rules) and we’re here, and now it’s time to go to work. At the end of the day, no matter what the target power level is, it’s our job to try to find an advantage and make more power than the next guy and the next organization. That’s the challenge ahead and we’re excited about it.”
Yates said his father, legendary NASCAR engine builder and crew chief Robert Yates, foresaw NASCAR’s move toward reduced horsepower many years ago.
“He was a big proponent of less power, smaller engines and more production-based engines,” said Yates. “I would say he was ahead of his time on this one, for sure. For an engine builder to talk about less power isn’t a very popular subject. It’s our job to continue to make more. We love more and more power, but at the end of the day, this is a competition. It’s a sport and it’s probably not wise for these cars to be running around at some of the speeds we are. This is one of the moves that Brian France and NASCAR feel is a step in the right direction and we’ll see how it goes.
“I think this year has been really great from a competition standpoint, so the guys are doing some really good things. This is the next phase for NASCAR and we’re on board.”