NASCAR engines are making in the neighborhood of 850-900 horsepower this season. And with those engines running near historically high levels of power, the sport may be looking to knock everything down a peg, according to a report from FoxSports.com. This should get interesting.
Fox managed to snag an interview with Robin Pemberton, a guy with the impressive-sounding title of NASCAR Vice President of Competition and Racing Development. Sources told Fox that they're thinking of bumping everyone down about 75 to 100 horses, but Pemberton said those kinks are still be worked out. And they're not making excuses about "race quality" or anything like that, either, as it's more about economics:
"It's as much getting more use out of engines as it is (reducing) horsepower," Pemberton told FOXSports.com. "They kind of feed off of each other. There's no guarantee horsepower may or may not do anything for the quality of racing, but it will allow us to do other things."
Discussions are still in the early stages, Pemberton said, but given the fact that there are so few engine suppliers now, they will need plenty of lead-time to make changes for next year.
Among the options being discussed are reduction in engine displacement and changes to throttle body size.
A higher-horsepower engine not only be more expensive upfront, but might have more reliability issues down the road, adding to overall costs, the thinking goes. By reducing the sheer brutality of the engines, you make the playing feel just a bit more level.
But if you take away 100 horses, you're likely to make a big dent in the speeds that make NASCAR, well, NASCAR. Since they aren't looking to slow everything down to a crawl, aerodynamics and tires will probably have to be tweaked as well to maintain the speeds.
All in all, it probably won't change NASCAR much. You'll still probably have a big peloton making its way around the track at speeds close to 200 MPH, you'll still have some scary crashes, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will continue to eat one of the most disgusting sandwich combinations the world has ever seen.