October 15, 2011
By Nicholas Schwartz
Disputes over manufacturer-specific engine specifications have long been a point of contention around NASCAR garages, and the argument was raised again after a spectacular finish in Friday’s Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
After Brad Keselowski’s punctured tire with 29 laps to go all but ended his chances for the win, Kyle Busch looked to be the car to beat in the Dollar General 300. Busch took a commanding lead after the race restarted and motored away from challengers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler with ease, and appeared to have a race victory in the bag before a series of late race cautions bunched the field together and gave the rest of the leaders a shot.
CIA Stock Photos
Carl Edwards Edges Kyle Busch
Restarting the race with five laps to go after Joey Logano tangled with Trevor Bayne and found the wall in Turn 3 to bring out the final caution of the night, Busch -- then the leader -- elected to resume the race from the outside lane, leaving the inside for Carl Edwards, who had clawed his way back up to second after an early race mishap in which Edwards found the wall and flattened the right side of his Fastenal Ford Mustang.
The two drivers restarted evenly, and as the pack entered Turn 1, Edwards used a push from Trevor Bayne to slide in front of Busch. Despite Busch’s best efforts -- Edwards was able to hold off the Toyota and drive to victory.
In the immediate post-race aftermath, Busch attributed the loss to a perceived horsepower advantage that he believes the Ford FR9 engine has over its Toyota counterpart.
“He outmotored us,” Busch said flatly minutes after the race. “The Toyota’s don’t have as much horsepower.”
Edwards and car owner Jack Roush denied the validity of Busch’s claim, and explained that as a driver, he feels that the current engine specifications NASCAR enforces have leveled the playing field across the four manufactures.
“Those claims are political statements people make to get [engine specifications] back to where they used to be -- where [Ford] had the disadvantage,” Edwards said. “I still think there’s one manufacturer that may have a slight advantage, but the [equality] is the best it’s ever been.”
If you would like to learn more about Nicholas, please check out his web site at Sports By Schwartz. Nicholas is a Managing editor and sportswriter for The Duke Chronicle at Duke University.
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.