Archive for Month: March 2012
Can You Really Bring Back the “Same” Car? (Or the Same Track?)
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 — unlike Indy or ALMS racing — each shop builds multiple cars, each specialized for a specific track. Let’s start by examining the anatomy […]
The Truth about Cell Phones, ECUs and Car Control
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.
Engine Maps Explained
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.
Phoenix: Relay Race?
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.