EFI Testing Continues at Martinsville
October 31, 2011 | 5:05 P.M. EST
Tony Stewart tested at Martinsville one day after winning the TUMS Fast Relief 500. (Photo: Getty Images)
For the third time this month, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams tested Electronic Fuel Injection on track, as 10 cars churned out laps around Martinsville Speedway Monday. Teams from Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, NEMCO Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and two teams from Stewart-Hass Racing participated in Monday’s session.
This marked the third EFI test for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this month. Previously, teams had tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Plans call for the full implementation of EFI in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2012 season.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, and winner of Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville, said today’s test was all about helping his race team get better.
“This test is big for the engine guys and also for our overall organization,” said Stewart, who is second in points in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. “It gives them the opportunity to read the fuel maps and get a feel for the ins and outs of the EFI system. We’re confident that this system will be bullet proof when we go all in with it next season. Being out here today, running laps; you do this to make your race team better.”
Stewart’s crew chief, Darian Grubb, said that his team came out of Monday’s test “very satisfied.”
“We’ve received a lot of data from the earlier tests and this was a good indicator on how the system might perform on a short track and we came away very satisfied,” said Grubb. “We’re all still in a bit of a learning process with the EFI and still doing some trouble shooting, but this is an exciting move we’re making in the sport.”
Grubb went on to say that Stewart provides the team with “excellent feedback” on how the car is handling on the track.
“Tony has experience racing with the EFI systems in the past and with his background in IndyCar and sprint cars, he is able to provide us with a lot of valuable and insightful feedback.”
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 43 Best Buy Ford, drove a car for Roush Fenway Racing at the test and said that today was his first experience behind the wheel of an EFI stock car.
“It was kind of cool making laps in the EFI car after going 500 laps yesterday at this track,” said Allmendinger, who finished 11th in Sunday’s race. “It was pretty amazing seeing the marks on the walls and divots in the track from the race. We were able to make a few minor adjustments with our car today and all in all, it was a productive test for us.”
John Darby, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director, said today’s test “was just one more step in the planning process for EFI.”
“Since the time we first began testing EFI in July in Kentucky, I think the teams have been able to work through just about all the configurations of race tracks and the different extremes of weather that they will see in 2012,” said Darby. “At Kentucky it was brutally hot and the teams were faced with the extreme heat and this morning it was 30 degrees here at Martinsville, so they’ve been able to test this system under a variety of conditions.”
Darby said that the feedback he has received from the drivers has been “consistently positive.”
“When they have the throttle wide open, they (the drivers) say the car might run even a little smoother,” said Darby. “When they run it mid-throttle, they say it might feel even a little softer in handling. They all say the cars are handling very similar to what they are used to driving now."