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NASCAR fuel scandal

NASCAR fuel scandal

(OP)
The Toyota/Michael Waltrip Nascar Team has been penalized for using a fuel additive. NASCAR would not reveal what they found and there is lots of speculation and a few red herrings floating arround with the AP reporting that a person with knowledge of the investigation saying it was a property contained in jet fuel. There were also rumors that it was Sterno, or jellied alcohol that was rubbed inside the intake. The substance has also been reported as an oxygenate by NASCAR.
One of the more sophisticated theories is that methanol was added to the gasoline and reacted with the aluminium intake manifold and made the gel that was found.

Does anyone else have any ideas? I understand that rice has been ruled out as a suspect.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

I found it odd that anyone used the word "property".

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

I also found that odd.  I'm not aware of any fuel additives that would build up a significantly thick gelatinous coating inside a manifold, nor does the "jet fuel" property make any sense.  Jet fuel is basically kerosene with additives needed for cold temps/high altitudes.  It's not the stuff of high performance, unless you are Audi.

I've been around NASCAR quite a while, and have friends and a couple of relatives that work in that industry.  Jellied alcohol (similar to Sterno fuel, but developed specifically for plate racing) is the most likely scenario.  It is applied to the inside of the manifold.  It can provide some additional oxygen, and bleeds slowly enough to be effective over a 2 lap qualifying run.  Who did it, and why, is puzzling me.

The insiders speculation (according to a close friend of mine who works as an engineer for a big cup/busch/truck team) is that it was  a jelled alcohol substance applied by a Toyota (TRD) person, possibly with knowledge of MWR personnel.  In order to protect Toyota from major embarassment at their big debut, NASCAR and MWR have concocted the story about an "illegal" fuel additive that created a jelly like substance inside the intake manifold.  This allows someone within MWR to take the blame, and shield Toyota from having to fall on it's sword (publically save face).

I have no idea if it's accurate.  Until NASCAR comes forth and tells us ALL of the information, we may never know.  Since they don't have a history of doing that, I'm not holding my breath waiting!

If any new information is published, it will show up here first:

www.jayski.com

Please understand that none of this stuff is new.  It's been going on for as long as NASCAR has existed.  Stretching the rulebook is all part of the sport.  Smokey Yunick made a career of it.  The old adage is: "It's not cheatin' if you don't get caught."  Well, NASCAR is turning the screws, and more practitioners are getting caught.

-Tony Staples
www.tscombustion.com

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

I find it odd that Nascar is being discussed on an engineering forum :D j/k

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

Hemi,

That's been a typical view of NASCAR for years by a lot of folks who don't know the industry.  However, as the dollars flowing into NASCAR have risen, so has the engineering effort.  With such a restrictive rulebook, it takes a LOT of engineering talent to figure out how to make the car go just a LITTLE bit faster.

It's no different than any other form of racing. "Speed costs money; how fast can you afford to go?"

-Tony Staples
www.tscombustion.com

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

F1 guru P. V. Valkenburg in Racecar Magazine told of a WWII fuel additive that made gasoline thinner or runnier. Since it liked to disolve and then evaporate off, it had to be used fairly quickley. It was not used for power, it was used to transfer fuel faster. It was hidden in the dip stick tube of the overhead fueling tank. Turn the cap in a way to release it about the time the race starts, let it mix for a while, fill the car a few times, then it dissapears. Quite clever. Saved a few seconds on every fill. That's alot of time in F1.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

"Cheatin's only illegal if ya get caught."  Smokey Yunick

"...fuel is somethin' ya just don't mess with. It's the big no no..." DW (last night on Nascar Live)

As to the article by VanValkenburg, I read about it in another publication and "sorta took it with a grain of salt".  I'm not saying it is not possible, just, given the state of inspection of the fuel and fuel systems in F-1, I find it highly improbable.

Hemi.
Some of the finest (and highest payed) engineers are working in the field of motor racing...that definitely includes NASCAR!

Rod

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

Greetings, All,

A fuel system designer/builder I know from another forum recently designed a Holley carb circuit which produced 1% more horsepower and 1/2lb/hr lower fuel consumption at 185mph restrictor plate tracks.  Given the restrictions involved and the years of dyno development already invested, it was considered impossible for a carb tweek to have that kind of effect.  Innovation is always possible.

thnx, jv.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

1.) It was simply an early test of the Unleaded fuels....

2.) Until Nascar comes forth with some real information, I will not even bother to worry about it. To my mind, Nascar looks like the idiot, not MW racing.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

patdaly,

If I understand your post correctly, then I disagree.  I really don't think MWR or toyota would test unleaded fuel in a qualifying run for the Daytona 500.  Why would they do that?

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

I figured my post would smoke a few people out!  And I hope it was taken in the spirit intended, i.e., jest.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

There are quite a few gasoline additives that will produce either a bit more power, or a slightly higher octane rating, permitting more spark advance or higher compression.
Benzene, toluene, and xylene are just three examples that come to mind.
None of these gel at anything like normal temperatures however.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

JohnJMoody:

Sorry, I was being flippant because at that point Nascar had refused to name exactly what the offensive material was.

They will be running Unleaded fuel this weekend, and I simply threw the two together.

I still have an issue with someone being called a cheater without the exact nature of the cheat being disclosed.

Mind you, I am not defending MWR, but I have seen the effects of rampant speculation on competitors.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

No offense taken here.

I wasn't aware that they were running unleaded fuel this season at all.  For some reason I was under the impression that this would be started next season.

It will be interesting to see the effects of the fuel change.  As far as I know (I wasn't driving during the leaded fuel days), the main difference will be a reduction in comp. ratio and possibly less lubricity of the fuel.  Any thoughts on this?

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

About the only change will be the cost of manufacturing the fuel...it'll still be very high octane rated but by the fact that it does not contain 'lead' I have no doubt that whatever substitute is used to keep those ~17:1 CR engines from 'cratering' will be very 'exotic' (\$) in nature.

All this is totally PC, IMO.  We gotta protect our children from all the leaded gasoline used in motorsports, you know.

Aside:  A recent study...'soft sided lunch boxes'...of 60 tested, 20 failed because of excessive lead content. Some had as much as 1500ppm!!!

It's all PC...I'm not impressed. NASCAR is a 'sports team'(read that 'advertising medium') the way I look at it.  I class them right along any other pro 'game'.
Why not just mandate 9.5:1 CR and use pump gas?

Rod

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

Here's the rumor I heard...The old NASCAR trick was to rub Sterno on the air filter (I assume the inside of it). It gives a boost in power for qualifying, and then gets washed away by airflow and then air/fuel in the manifold. The mistake must have been that someone fired up the engine before it went to tech.  According to NASCAR.com the tech inspector found a substance when he was putting the restrictor plate on.  They should have pushed it.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

The additive is probaby propylene oxide, a known fuel oxygenator and octane booster.  Its commonly used in the formula atlantic series as the "blue fuel". get it?  Search the patent systems in several Asian countries and you will find a curious association with this product as an additive for keeping valves clean and boosting octane to 119.  Its also used by a certain auto manufacturer (who has the patents on the previous 2 subjects) in its seat foam manufacturing process to get that nice cushy feel from the foam surface.  Lastly, their web site (convert to English) reveals the latest discovery in creating gel packs for this substance (its VERY toxic) that have designer specified mucosity levels (amount of gellability). One more thing, they had to file with the State of Kentucky a form containing mention of how much propylene oxide would be leached into groundwater from their assembly plant. So who spnsors Formula Atlantic ?  There's your answer.  Their cast graphite composition motors are a bit down on power at the moment so someone probably decided to get some help from the R&D section for qualifying. Its that simple. The reason NASCAR came down so hard was it wasn't just somebody slipping in some juice.  This takes a special spark plug gap, rod strength, head gaskget material and valvetrain beef to take the extra power. Oops.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

im not much into nascar, but it Im always wondering - how much attention is payed to pump oil base fueled engines yet on the very very end of this fuel era...Looks like fuel engineering somewhere still lives in common "happy endless" mud.Strange.Decade or two,and all of it will go on reneuvable resourse fuels almost 100%.Its time to change racing reglaments to other fuels I believe.What is a point to stick with gas today? I personaly dont understand it...

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

Ummm

Some people have been using alcohol for quite a while, that is where rules allow.

Regards

eng-tips, by professional engineers for professional engineers
Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

We run methanol in the sprint cars.
The problem for NASCAR is multi-faceted:
1> They run a special Holley carb that is made specifically for NASCAR - it was supposed to be obsolete many years ago, but there are 1000's around now. Methanol eats aluminum so the carb, manifold and dump cans would all have to be specially coated.
2> Sunoco is a major series sponsor to promote sales at the gas stations. What benefit would there be for a non-consumer fuel?
3> Safety - methanol can blind you if it gets in your eyes, and splash is a danger during pitstops. It also burns clear so spotting a fire is almost impossible - just look at the problems Indy/Cart guys have with it and they have dedicated fueling rigs, not dump cans.

Perhaps with all the fuel cell research, some day there will be a racing series for hydrogen fueled cars.... I think I'll watch the Hindenburg 500 at home on TV.

Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

The clear burning nature could easily be changed with an additive to make a bit of a glow, like a little bit of oil in it, or some nano sized magnesium powder well dispersed.

Regards

eng-tips, by professional engineers for professional engineers
Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

of course, petrol engines are common in racing not because of technical problems - it is historical/industrial matter first of all.Industry often exceeds limit wich makes it self-reasoned. Even if tomorrow we'd have alcohol fuel with production cost twice as low as petrol  - politics would rise purposely it right away because you can not cut billion dollar petrol machinery projects right like that in one day.Even in ten years it would be too painfull for global economy probably.
Pumping oil is monster that rules the world - no doubt.But sport should be innovative not only in improving old technologies by getting one and another horse more from same restrictor plate,but also in other things.
Piston engine is primitive thing itself - way to much wasted heat and polution.I think if it has future - only in regard of biofuel.
I dont see any criminal in that situation with nascar being used alcohol.
Sport is always full of cheating, and this one wasnt the worse we remember.
Regards
Andrius

RE: NASCAR fuel scandal

Just FYI...Drove the Model A down and spent Saturday watching a friend race his Volvo 544 at Cal Speedway (VARA race after the big NASCAR race last week).  I got a peek at some of the new unleaded 'blue fuel'.  It was.  I am told it is 119 octane (by what method averages that is determined I do not know).  No price either as it is not sold at the track except to qualified NASCAR teams.  Oh well, if ya gotta ask the price, etc.!!!

Rod

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