Reduction of horsepower worth looking at for NASCAR, but not simple

Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, assists in an engine change last year at Michigan.

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NASCAR is having some pretty deep discussions with the teams, manufacturers and engine builders about cutting horsepower for next year. Now I’ve talked to NASCAR about this very subject. Here is where they are at and to me it makes total sense.

Now realize that horsepower costs money. You’ve all heard the old line "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?" Well, it’s true. The more horsepower you make, the more you will spend. For a couple reasons I know that NASCAR would like to bring the power back down a little bit.

One reason is cost. Now in the short term, it is going to cost the teams money. With that said, in the long term it is going to save the teams money. The other reason they would like to knock 10 to 15 horsepower out of this thing is their belief it might make the racing even better. Yes the racing is pretty darn good right now, but their long-term belief is that with this possible power reduction the racing might be even better next year.

On the positive side of things is there really are only four major engine manufacturers they have to deal with. You have the Roush-Yates camp, Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt-Childress and on the Toyota side is TRD — Toyota Racing Development. They still have other smaller engine operations that NASCAR has to make sure they don’t put out of business because the smaller race teams need these engine companies.

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So NASCAR is walking the edge of a razor blade on this issue. They know it’s going to be good in the long term while realizing from a short-term perspective it’s going to cost a lot of money and they also have to keep the little guy in mind.

Keep in mind, there is no guarantee NASCAR will even pull this trigger on this. If they continue to see the type of racing we saw at Daytona, Bristol and Auto Club Speedway, for example, they might leave everything status quo for now. The reality is they have to be working on it hard today if they are even considering it for 2015. Who knows, they might get down the road a little further and put this plan on the backburner for a little while longer.

I like what I am hearing and I believe in what they are doing. My old boss, car owner and engine builder Robert Yates, was saying clear back in the mid-1990’s that this was going to be an area of concern. Back then the horsepower was something like 600 while today it’s pushing 900 horsepower.

Now I know to the average fan that reducing horsepower would seem pretty simple step to handle. It’s really not. This new car was built on the speeds we have today. So if you reduce the horsepower, it’s then going to change the aerodynamics on the car. So it’s a little more complicated than just bring the horsepower back down.