Fueling System Puzzles Some Teams

Paul Menard

Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe had an issue trying to get Paul Menard’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet filled up properly during a stop Sunday in Las Vegas. (Photo: Getty Images)

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The new self-ventilating fuel system being used this year has proven to be a headache for a number of teams.
 
A new gas can that eliminates the need for a catch can man and reduces the number of crew members to go over the wall for a pit stop from seven to six has already thrown a curveball at some high profile organizations.
 
NASCAR maintains the switch to the system, which was used in the Camping World Truck Series last season, was necessary in part due to the move to an ethanol-based fuel.
 
"It better enables us to keep a control on the open container of fuel -- because with the E15 you want to make sure you never get any moisture whatsoever into that. And this better helps with that," said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton.
 
However, that hasn’t stopped the learning curve from being high.
 
That was evident this past Sunday in Las Vegas when Greg Biffle experienced several issues on pit road that ultimately cost him a chance to win the Kobalt Tools 400.
 
At least two miscues during fueling took Biffle out of contention despite having a fast car capable of winning the race and frustrated the driver who delivered some choice and harsh comments to his crew during the heat of battle.
 
Biffle cooled down afterward but was still disappointed by the turn of events.
 
“It’s something we have to fix and get better at, simple as that,” Biffle said. “It’s the same for every team and we need to find a way to get better in a hurry. We had such a fast race car and it’s a shame we weren’t able to capitalize.”
 
Biffle wasn’t alone in dealing with a team trying to figure out the new system. Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe had an issue trying to get Paul Menard’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet filled up properly during a stop Sunday in Las Vegas.
 
“It was tough to see if all the fuel was in the tank and I screwed up once not making sure we got it all in,” said Labbe. “It’s just new and I’m sure something we’ll get a handle on but on Sunday it did cost us.”
 
Despite the early stumbles by some teams, NASCAR remains steadfast in its decision to change both to the new Ethanol fuel as well as the system for fueling on pit road.
 
“It puts us further down the right path to be responsible with the environment,” France said. “Choosing a fuel like ethanol, it's home grown, American-made. That one is just a perfect fit for us. We did a lot of testing and we feel like the performance is going to be really good. So we're confident about that.”
 
A few teams may take issue with the statement at least in the opening three weeks of the season.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

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