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Feb 28, 2014 - 05:36 PM
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2014 Phoenix Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Doug Yates
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 28, 2014 - 05:34 PM
2014 Phoenix Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Doug Yates

Doug Yates is nervous. Not because he knows something, but because he isn’t quite sure what to expect. The engine builder has worked extensively in the off-season with his team and the Ford teams to be as prepared as possible for the new NASCAR qualifying format, a format Yates believes will definitely impact engines. Yates discussed how NASCAR’s qualifying change has impacted engines and what he and his team have done to try to ready for today’s debut at Phoenix International Raceway.

DOUG YATES, Roush Yates Engines - WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THE NEW QUALIFYING EFFORT CAN IMPACT THESE ENGINES? "I would say the engine guys are more nervous than anybody. This is a huge change for us. Usually you line up and cool the water down and you heat the oil up as hot as you can get it and as thin of oil as you can get and run a couple laps and that is it. We know how the engines react to that scenario. This is all new. How many runs are you going to make? How hot will the oil get, which drives the water temperature and how do you get it cooled back down? There are a lot of factors here. What we want to do, and obviously everyone is here watching and we will learn a lot after today’s session, but as racers we want to make sure we do the best job we can for qualifying here today at Phoenix. We are a little nervous and want to make sure we understand the scenarios and we don’t want to damage the engine. This is our race engine with NASCAR’s one engine rule. We will be paying a lot of attention today."


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HOW CAN YOU PREPARE FOR TODAY? "There has been a lot of testing on the part of the teams to understand temperature management mainly. That information has been transferred back to the engine shops and we run tests at the shop to try to simulate those scenarios and try to make good decisions for the best power and reliability of the engine for this weekend and then when we go to Las Vegas it will be a whole other scenario. It will be a mile-and-a-half race track and the engine will get hotter over that period of time. The only thing constant in NASCAR right now is change and the people that react to it the fastest have the advantage and hopefully because we have done our homework we are part of that group."

TEAMS ARE TRYING TO DEVISE PLANS ON HOW TO APPROACH THIS QUALIFYING FORMAT. HAVE YOU ADVISED THEM FROM AN ENGINE STANDPOINT ON HOW YOU THINK THEY SHOULD APPROACH THIS FORMAT? "That is really a team decision. They have to make that call. The thing that we can relay is the information we have today and a lot of that is what happened with Nationwide qualifying in Daytona. We were watching that very closely and our guys struggled with that. They struggled with making decisions on when to go out and what groups to get with. There was a big learning curve there. This is a totally different scenario but that is really a team decision. I think the fact that the cars are nosed in when the qualifying session starts there will be some interest and excitement about if you want to be first on the track and how many laps it takes to get your fast lap here at Phoenix. You can run more than a couple laps here it seems until the tires come in. Those are really team decisions though and the engine guys are just sitting back reminding them to not overheat the engines and don’t turn it too many RPMs and make sure you live within the limits of the engine. That is really our job."

DOUG YATES CONTINUED - YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU HAD HOPED FROM DAYTONA DID YOU? "I think we learned there that strategy is very important and you have to have a fast race car. You have to be very strategic about when you go out, who you go out with, especially at Daytona and Talladega. It is going to be exciting. I applaud NASCAR for continuing to push the limits of change in our sport. The interest of the fans is as good as we have seen it. We wanted to win Daytona and had really fast cars down there. I congratulate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports for doing a nice job. We were close and we want to continue that momentum into Phoenix."

HOW HAVE THINGS PROGRESSED FOR YOU IN TERMS OF THIS NEW AERO PACKAGE FOR 2014? "I think that there is a big learning curve. These cars have a lot more downforce and will carry a lot more speed. That is going to change the life cycle of the engine, the duty cycle of the engine and what that see’s. These first couple weeks there will be a lot of work going on to make sure we are reacting to the changes. The shops are busy right now and everyone is paying a lot of attention. The car guys have done a lot of nice work and we are really looking forward to this weekend to see where we are at."

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