Every week we hear at least one driver say that they are bringing back “the same car we raced at…”. This is a little misleading because …
It didn’t take long after Brad Kezelowski pulled out his cellphone during the 2-hour-long Daytona red flag for the conspiracy theorists to leap into action.
The argument goes like this: Cellphones should be banned from the car because a driver could use his specially prepared cellphone to a) change the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and/or b) transmit data from the car back to his crew chief during a race. We will not address the suggestions that the driver could use the cellphone to talk secretly to the crew chief during a race because anyone who has been in a race car or worn a helmet knows that’s just plain dopey.
In my last post, I detailed how the relays in the ECU system allow the system to flip to a default engine map. This lets the team keep running, even when something fails, and it decreases the chances of the ECU doing something that blows up the engine. Here’s a short explanation of what exactly an ‘engine map’ is and what it does.
The race at Phoenix was the first non-restrictor-plate race. A number of drivers experienced engine-related problems, leading some media outlets to start blowing the “EFI problems” horns as loudly as possible. Mark Martin, the pole sitter, was an unfortunate casualties of a “flipped circuit breaker”. One of the most interesting exchanges to me was a series of tweets and a radio interview with Mark Martin’s Crew Chief Rodney Childers (@rchilders55) in which Childers repeatedly said it not “an EFI problem”, the radio commentators persisted in saying that it was.