Drivers Split on EFI Data Sharing
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 16, 2012 | 4:30 P.M. EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes the practice, which is in the early stages as is the development and implementation of the EFI system, could be a blow to the competitive balance of the Sprint Cup Series.
“I’d rather not have that,” Earnhardt said when asked about it Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “It would benefit to be able to see that. But, I think it is a slippery slope. With the fuel injection it brings in the ability this year to be able to see data that we’ve never been able to see before.
“I think we should ease into how we use that date, and how NASCAR allows us to use that data kind of slowly not to upset the culture of the sport, or how things have worked in the past.”
Earnhardt doesn’t have a problem with teams, organizations and drivers having proprietary information from one another.
“I think if we take this new door that has been opened to us and abuse it; it might not be good for the sport,” he said. “I think it’s better for competition for everybody to have a few secrets.”
Carl Edwards is on the same page as Junior and understands why all teams don’t want to share the data gathered from the system.
“I would have to say I agree with that,” Edwards said. “The thing is with us drivers is what we do with the pedals and steering wheel and all that stuff is our proprietary stuff.
“From NASCAR’s perspective I can see how they would want everyone to not have an advantage and keep feeding everyone information to make it tougher and closer. I know for me personally with the fuel mileage things and different things there have been times I thought there were things I did in the car that I wouldn’t want anyone else to see. If those days are over, then they are over. I guess that is just the way it is."
However Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson sees a benefit in the sharing of data. Johnson says he gained valuable information from last week’s Las Vegas race winner Tony Stewart’s team, which gets its equipment as a customer of Hendrick.
“I did look at Tony’s data and definitely have a direction and know what’s going on,” Johnson said. “It’s a complicated thing that I’m certainly not going to share for the world to see. But I’ve got a clear direction of where to work.”
Greg Biffle is somewhere down the middle on the topic and sees some benefit in sharing resources as long as there are some limits in the process.
"Well, I would embrace the idea of some of the data,” Biffle said. “Meaning maybe they let us see the throttle trace and the breaking or something like that. As far as letting all the teams have an open notebook on all the engine data that is probably going a little too far in my opinion.
“These guys spend hours and hours and lots and lots of time and effort, and that is part of competition, to get their mouse trap better than everybody else’s. When you make all that public then that work is in vain. You almost ask yourself what is the purpose in trying at that point if everybody else is going to get it, then we will just copy everybody else.”
Like Earnhardt Biffle is aware that the potential to upset competitive balance exists if the data sharing isn’t handled correctly.
“There still needs to be competition,” Biffle said. “There needs to be competitiveness within the teams and maybe some of the driver’s inputs we could see. I would embrace that idea, to see the throttle and brake trace. Maybe we could learn a little bit from that but going into all the engine data, I don’t know that that is the right thing to do for our sport."