Ethanol Brings Changes to NASCAR
By now, you’ve probably heard about NASCAR’s switch to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Starting at Daytona there are a few ethanol-related changes that will be implemented, the most noticeable of which being the green “American Ethanol” gas ports on all cars.
[singlepic id=56 w=320 h=240 float=left]NASCAR has also introduced new fuel cans for its three major series. In the past, the cars had a port in the rear of the car which allowed air in the fuel tank to escape more quickly, thus speeding up the refueling proccess. When the tank filled, excess fuel would spill from this port and was caught in a smaller can (called the “catch can”) that was held by a 7th pit crew member (called the “catch can man”). The new system eliminates this port and creates a completely closed system. Therefore, the new cans are a bit slower at emptying their fuel load into the cars, which will make pit stops slightly slower as well.[singlepic id=54 w=320 h=240 float=right]
With the catch can out of the picture, the pit crew is cut from 7 over-the-wall members to 6. This presents a new set of challenges for teams. The catch can man was typically a taller individual who not only held the can, but made chassis adjustments with wrenches stuck into the rear window. Now, pit crews and their coaches are busy adapting to this new variable and trying to decide who on the crew will make the crucial chassis adjustments.
The teams that figure out the best plan of attack are sure to have a decided advantage early in the season.[singlepic id=55 w=320 h=240 float=none]