March 13, 2003
Team engineers for Jack Roush have discovered why four of six Roush Racing engines broke down during Sunday's Winston Cup race in Atlanta.
Engines in the Fords driven by Roush drivers Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton, as well as a Roush-built engine in Ricky Rudd's Wood Brothers Taurus, blew during the 500-mile race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The owner brought his top engineers from Roush Industries headquarters in Livonia, Mich., to the race shop in Concord, N.C., to head the investigation. They quickly found some answers.
"The good news is that none of the very substantial horsepower gains that we have been making caused any of our problems. The bad news is that the tuning mistake was my own. Now I know how Rick Hendrick's engine guy felt after Talladega last fall," Roush said, referring to a day in which four Hendrick Motorsports entries and two of its engine customers experienced problems.
"I hurt pistons on the No. 6 (Martin), No. 21 (Rudd) and No. 97 (Busch) by tuning for fuel economy that just wasn't attainable for Atlanta, and the No. 99's (Burton's) problem derived from a new oil pan that resulted in oil starvation."
Roush said steps have been taken to make sure there will be no similar problems Sunday at Darlington Raceway.
CREW CHIEF FINES: NASCAR fined crew chiefs James Ince and Mike Ford $1,000 each for violations in Sunday's race. Ince, crew chief for Johnny Benson, was fined for an unapproved fuel filler check valve assembly, and Ford, Bill Elliott's crew chief, was fined for altering the car after the car had passed template inspection.