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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

NASCAR vs. top auto companies

Posted Friday, January 11, 2008, at 11:30 PM

When the United States had a gasoline shortage in 1979 I asked a question some of you, especially NASCAR fans, may find interesting.

This took place perhaps an hour before a race at Talladega.

While talking with a man who had been a fine driver and builder and later had a team that won several NASCAR titles, I asked, "Could you NASCAR guys turn things around and build cars that would get much better gas milage than Detroit is building?"

He thought only a moment and answered, "Yeah. It might take us a year or so to work things out but we could do it."

The person answering my question was Junior Johnson.

Of course Junior had built really fast and powerful cars for racing and, to put it mildly, other purposes for many years.

What do you NASCAR fans think? Could the NACAR boys build a car that would get better gas milage than the cars the big name manufacturers are building?

Showing most recent comments first
[Show in chronological order instead]

Everybody isn't answering the question.

We are talking about gasoline powered vehicles. A little automotive history from an Old Guy.

1950: Bendix/Eclipse redesigned the Bendix

2BBL Carb for the flathead Ford: 35 MPG Highway.

1951 Nash Rambler 6 cyl. 3 speed with overdrive. 42 MPG Highway.

1959 Rambler Station Wagon, 6 cyl. 3 speed w/o overdrive: 35 MPG Highway.

1972: 2 guys took a 1972 Chevrolet Station Wagon with a 400 CU. IN. motor with a 3 speed automatic. Redesigned 2 BBL carb. They went coast to coast and back. Average Highway: 42 MPG. This was supervised by General Motors Corp. and published in 1972 Hot Rod Magazine. GM bought the patent never to be seen again.

I own a 1972 Chevy 2 with a 283/325 HP with a 3 speed automatic.3:1 gear ratio.

Reworked Holley 4 BBL Carb. Top speed 120 plus/ At 55 MPH, 18 MPG. Town, 12 MPG. This car will tear your head off when it shifts.

Junior Johnson is correct in his statement.

Automotive Rule #1: Horsepower, Performance, and Mileage go hand in Hand.

P.S. I owned ALL these cars!

-- Posted by framestraight on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 9:58 PM

I wanna see a Hybrid NASCAR Race. That would make Pit Stops a lot more interesting.

The Technology is out there to make it happen, i.e. Green Fuel, Hybrid, using garbage like they used in Back to The Future. Just saying...

I would like to see some of the races cut back from 500 to 400 miles. That would help a little. The thing is, there are tons of local dirt tracks that use the 121 octane gas. Imagine how many gallons of gas get used for 55 cars at a local track and multiply that by at least 50+ tracks are wide. Hmm, NASCAR is a small problem.

Get the local drivers/engines used to alternative fuels and then they will be used to it by the time they get to upper Series.

-- Posted by UVilleGators on Tue, Jan 15, 2008, at 8:51 PM

Haha so true!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 7:37 PM

In a sense,today's car racing has more in common with the early days of the automobile when Rolls and Ford and Benz were tinkerers trying to determine whether internal combustion engines had a future than the "Thunder Road" era when the good ole boys concentrated on smuggling booze past the "revenooers".

The designers,drivers and pit crew have so much engineering knowledge that they could probably handle a manned flight to Mars if necessary.

Some of our military tech folks could do some wonder-working,too.

All they'd need is as much support for scientific achievement as they have for what they're doing now.

In the meantime,public transportation,walkable neighborhoods and major use of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles could really assist some of our transportation hassles.

Some of the "flaws" of the pint-sized vehicles are their best traits.

Do new drivers,the elderly and the average homebody NEED cars that can carry six people,go over 300 miles an hour and travel for long trips?

Why not save the big cars for journeys that can't be accomplished by more efficient means?

Getting to work,school,home and the typical errand could be done in a one or two-seater car that travels 2-4 hours on a charge and has a speed of 35-75 miles per hour.

That would make North Main and other thoroughfares much safer.

It might even be safe enough for bike riders and pedestrians to get out on the streets.

We could still use our SUVs and trucks to haul furniture,carpool and accommodate car seats for all the kids in large families but drivers in scaled down vehicles could replace the lone drivers who play bumper cars in vehicles the size and speed of Star Wars' Millenium Falcon.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 5:28 PM

I love Nascar, but if our country was really concerned about fuel consumption then don't you think leisure motorsports should be limited...??? I am not saying take Nascar, Indy, or any other sport that involves constant fuel consumption away, but by all means try to eliminate some uneccessary races.

It may have a small but crucial impact on finding alternative fuels faster...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 3:54 PM

Dianatn, the Nano is neat in outside appearance. I want to see a little more about the overall performance and weaknesses such as safety issues.

Right now I wouldn't want to drive it on North Main Street.

The concept does seem to be headed in the right direction.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 2:40 PM

This has nothing to do with Nascar and I am not a real big Nascar fan either but did you see where Tata Motors in India revealed a car called the Nano costing New $2500.00 US ?

I don't know how it drives but it is a cute little thing:


Scroll down a little for the article and picture

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 11:14 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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