Hold your horses: NASCAR engine power decrease a good thing?

Two men look at a Toyota Racing Development engine built for their NASCAR race car. 

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone by now has heard about the possibility of NASCAR looking at cutting the horsepower in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series as early as 2015. I think this idea has a twofold purpose. First is to obviously slow the cars down a bit with the goal to be making the racing even better than it already is today. The other goal is what’s going on right now and that’s to contain and limit the continuing increase in making horsepower. 

When I got into the sport, we all thought 600 horsepower was a lot. Then the needle moved to 650, then 700, then 750 and the mark keeps increasing. By that I mean, it’s increasing to where we are talking 900 horsepower today. We don’t see the big jumps in horsepower anymore. They are much smaller increases, but the point is it is still increases. 

With any increase be it big or small, it still changes the dynamics inside that engine. I am talking about RPM changes, harmonics inside that engine change and then obviously durability is affected. Add into that, the costs go up dramatically because as you all hopefully know, in the search for more speed it relies on one major factor – more money. 

NASCAR realizes it just can’t keep letting it creep on up there. The teams and more so the owner is feeling that pinch in the wallet. So the challenge becomes finding a balance of reigning in the ever-climbing horsepower while at the same time giving the fans at home watching it on FOX or those in the Grandstand some awesome racing. 

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I think this is a positive step by NASCAR. The ultimate goal is great racing for the fans and obviously the competitors, while at the same time reducing costs to the teams. I know on the surface all this might sound dramatic and threatening, but in the meeting I have been a part of with NASCAR, they are quick to assure us all they don’t want to do anything with the product that is put out there on the track every Sunday. They want to maintain and improve the product, while at the same time reducing cost where possible.