Monday, March 5, 2012
The Fuel Injection Era
AVONDALE, AZ – In the second race of the “Fuel Injection Era” Tony Stewart experiences a failure dashing his hopes for a good finish. On lap 249 of the 312 lap Phoenix 500, Stewart shut his engine off to conserve fuel. The engine wouldn’t restart, and Stewart needed a push from a wrecker to get it restarted. "A breaker switch in the system that's there -- I don't understand totally why it's there -- but it kicked off," Addington said. "It doesn't need it when it's running. But when he shut the car off, if you ever shut it off, it won't let the car fire back up… We had no way of knowing that's what had kicked off, or that it would do that under racing conditions. It's not what we wanted. We had a fast car and thought we would get a top-five [finish] out of it, but that's the way it goes sometimes." Lesson One – Carburetors do not have breakers.
Denny Hamlin ran a good race at Phoenix finishing first in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 keeping contender Kevin Harvick at bay in the final laps. Lucky for Hamlin, Harvick lost fuel pressure with only two laps to go, but still managed a second place finish. "I don't know where this came from," Hamlin said. "We were solidly off in practice. We were off, but we kept getting it better and closer and closer to being competitive, but I had no idea that we were going to fire off like we did today." This track was not as good to him in 2010 when his Championship run was dashed with a poor finish.
Greg Biffle placed third placing him in second in points following his third place finish at Daytona. Matt Kenseth finished in fourth place leaving him fourth in points.
In other news, NASCAR officials penalized Jimmie Johnson 25 points for improper bodywork modifications at Daytona. Crew Chief Chad Knaus and Car Chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six Sprint Car events. Knaus was also issued a $100,000 fine.
The penalties were issued after inspectors found that the C-pillars of Johnson’s car were illegally modified. Officials cut the posts from the car requiring the Hendrick team to fly new parts to the track to be welded in prior to the final inspection. Unfortunately Johnson crashed in the opening laps of the race yielding only 2 championship points. Johnson started the Phoenix race with -23 points. Hendrick is appealing the ruling.