Skip to content

Dale Jr.: Horsepower drop “coming whether you like it or not”

Apr 4, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 - Practice Getty Images

NASCAR CEO Brian France has revealed that engine modifications – including a reduction in horsepower – could be coming to the Sprint Cup Series sometime within the next two seasons.

Naturally, that’s led to questions about what impacts those modifications would have on NASCAR’s racing product, which in recent years has been superb in some places (road courses, short ovals) and sometimes suspect in others (intermediate-sized ovals).

Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes that such changes won’t make the racing less competitive as he feels that “the racing is competitive, any way you slice it.”

However, he’s hopeful that a particular path will be taken by the sanctioning body.

“When you can go to a smaller engine, you preserve some throttle response,” Earnhardt said today at Texas Motor Speedway. “You preserve some reaction in the gas pedal and give the driver a few more tools to be able to use out on the race track when he is driving his race car.

“When you take and put a [restrictor] plate on those cars, you take tons of throttle response out of the car and setting up a pass, particularly on a track that is worn out like this, is a little more challenging with a plate rather than an open engine that is smaller.”

As far as the possible HP drop goes, Earnhardt likened the situation to the recent Sprint Cup return of the No. 3, which his late father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., drove to six of his seven overall Sprint Cup titles.

Richard Childress’ revival of the famous number for rookie driver Austin Dillon was met with loud resistance in some quarters of the NASCAR fan base – but as the season has wore on, the controversy has ebbed for the most part.

Earnhardt believes such would be the case as well with the HP drop if it comes to pass.

“I think the reduction in power is coming whether you like it or not,” he said. “I chose as an individual to get on the side of being productive in that discussion instead of saying ‘We don’t need to do it’ and trying to fight it – let’s try to make sure when it does happen, we do it the right way and give ourselves something to grow into and something to engineers and something that is productive for many years to come.

“…You can have both sides arguing against and for, for however long you want, but it’s going to happen so we might as well start thinking about how we want it to happen and trying to have those discussions on making sure we make the best choice we can make for the sport.”

Latest Posts
  1. Hunter-Reay leads as times plunge in second practice at Sonoma

    Aug 29, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    All-American top three as track record eclipsed, unofficially, at Sonoma.

  2. Trulli FE pleased to have completed first shakedown with season two car

    Aug 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    © Trulli Formula E © Trulli Formula E

    Trulli looks poised to stick with its own powertrain for despite only completing seven laps in pre-season.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Sonoma second practice at 10:30 a.m. PT, 1:30 ET, on NBCSN

    Aug 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    FP2 AP

    Second practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is live from 10:30 a.m. PT, 1:30 p.m. ET, today on NBCSN.

  4. Bottas unaffected by Ferrari speculation over summer break

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 23:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams arrives forthe drivers' parade before the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bottas had been linked with a seat at Ferrari for 2016, until the team confirmed that it would be retaining Kimi Raikkonen.

  5. 17G impact with curb cause of Maldonado’s Spa retirement

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 22:  Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela and Lotus drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 22, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Lotus technical director Nick Chester reveals the cause of Maldonado’s DNF in the Belgian Grand Prix.

  6. Porsche’s no. 18 car storms to Nürburgring WEC pole

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:03 AM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas take Porsche to its fourth pole position of the season, edging out the sister no. 17 car.

  7. Porsche powers to 1-2 in final Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:38 AM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Marc Lieb storms to the top of the timesheets in the no. 18 Porsche, heading up a 1-2 finish in FP3.

  8. Power sets the pace in Sonoma’s Friday marathon session

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    A long day on Friday ends with Will Power on top of the timesheets.

  9. Drivers reflect on Wilson at Sonoma (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:11 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Quick series of interviews and tributes flow in for Justin Wilson on site at Sonoma.

  10. NHRA: Don Schumacher Racing releases Spencer Massey effective immediately

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The 10th place driver in NHRA Top Fuel standings gets released from his contract at DSR.

  11. Karam reflective, thinking of Wilson family upon heading to Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Sage Karam speaks with reporters Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

  12. MotoGP: Marquez, Lorenzo lead the way in British GP practice at Silverstone

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 14:  Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team rounds the bend during the MotoGp of Czech Republic - Free Practice at Brno Circuit on August 14, 2015 in Brno, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Marquez and Lorenzo continue their fight at the front of the MotoGP field in practice at Silverstone on Friday.

  13. Renault e.dams confirms Prost and Buemi for upcoming Formula E season

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    E.Dams-Renaults Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi drives during qualifying practice at the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Prost and Buemi retained by the defending teams’ champion for season two.

  14. Lieb: Porsche pumped up following Le Mans success

    Aug 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Germany's Marc Lieb steers his Porsche 919 during the 83rd Le Mans 24-hours endurance race, on June 14, 2015 in Le Mans, western France. Fifty-six cars with 168 drivers participate on June 13 and 14 in the Le Mans 24-hours endurance race. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT        (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Porsche will debut a new aero kit at this weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany.

  15. Bottas expected more from Williams in 2015

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 23:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Finnish driver admits Williams expected to be further ahead than it is.

  16. Audi on top once again in second Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    The Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro No7 of the Audi Sport Team Joest driven by Marcel Fassler of Switzerland, Andre Lotterer of Germany and Benoit Treluyer of France is seen in action during the first qualifying practice session of the 83rd 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The race will begin on Saturday, June 13. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

    Benoit Treluyer shoots to the top of the timesheets late on in FP2.

  17. Hamilton unmoved by FIA Pole Trophy success

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    xxxx during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 22, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Getty Images

    Hamilton wrapped up the second annual FIA Pole Trophy last weekend in Belgium.

  18. Mallya targeting top-four finish for Force India in 2016

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

    Mallya expresses his delight in Force India’s form despite having a smaller workforce and budget than many of its rivals.