NASCAR team owner Jack Roush talks possible Cup engine changes

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With NASCAR indicating that it will make engine modifications for the Sprint Cup Series sometime in the future – which could involve a reduction in horsepower – one of the series’ most prominent team owners has an idea on how the sanctioning body should do it.

Jack Roush, owner of Roush Fenway Racing, told NASCAR.com that the modifications should include “a restriction on the intake side” that doesn’t involve restrictor plates, such as a reduction of the throttle bore size.

“[It is] straightforward and it is easily reversible if you decided that the quality of the racing was hurt by it,” Roush said. “If they want to take 100 horsepower off, reduce horsepower significantly, the least expensive and most palatable way to do that is with a restriction on the intake side.”

Roush also hoped that NASCAR would take the costs incurred upon the teams into account as they go about making the changes, saying that his and other teams can only afford to change so much at a time.

However, Roush feels like the sanctioning body could ultimately wind up simply reducing the RPM on the engine and add a requirement that engines must be used for two races apiece.

“By reducing the RPM, you reduce the power available for the car without changing its restriction or changing its displacement,” he said. “By making the requirement that an engine be run twice before it was subject to rebuild, we would have that opportunity to reduce costs to the teams.”

NASCAR CEO Brian France first indicated earlier this month that engine changes would come sometime within the next two seasons.

Shortly afterwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr. declared that a horsepower drop was inevitable and also, his hope that the engine would be smaller to preserve throttle response from the cockpit.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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