Fuel conservation gives Earnhardt Jr the win

I did not notice the whining about fuel economy in 2003 by Dale Earnhardt Jr., as captured by NASCAR.com – Fuel strategy gives Earnhardt Jr. top five – July 28, 2003:

Earnhardt indicated next weekend’s Brickyard 400 would be the same story, exacerbated by two-and-four-tire strategies and the specter of fuel mileage, another issue he said he’s had enough of.

“Tony (Eury) Jr. is always on me about fuel,” Earnhardt said of his car chief, who calls his races from atop the pit box in conjunction with his father, crew chief Tony Eury. “It’s never close, it’s always short.”

Junior said after his last pit stop the crew told him he was “about a gallon short” of having enough fuel to make it to the finish.

“He (Eury Jr.) said ‘Don’t scrub your tires and you’ll save some fuel.’ I said, ‘man, I’ve been through this too many times with you.’ I’m getting tired of hearing it from my guys when they tell me that I need to save fuel.

“There is no book on how to save fuel. I mean, every time they say ‘save fuel’ I say, ‘all right, tell me how to do that again?’ I’ve been around this sport a long time — I don’t think anybody really knows.”

Well, apparently Junior has figured it out and is all the better for knowing. The big news today is that he has won a race in Michigan by applying fuel conservation. The articles I have read point out that stopping for fuel would have dropped the driver 25 places! Big kudos to Tony for his sensible energy strategy:

The most popular driver in NASCAR won this one by gambling, going the last 55 laps on the 2-mile oval, including three laps of overtime, without stopping for gas.

He gave most of the credit for his first win in more than two years to crew chief Tony Eury.

“We came in on that last stop and we were going to be about six laps short, and I saved six laps of gas,” Earnhardt said. “So, (we were) just real lucky. I have to hand it to Tony Jr. for being a risk-taker. … He’s done a good job this year getting us good finishes, better finishes than we should probably have.”

Perhaps Eury could consult with Bush and Cheney now and give them some tips on how to keep America from falling behind; better security and more success from higher availability. Imagine a Dick-infomercial where the VP says “Be a winner. Conserve energy.”

Or perhaps Eury could now convince Earnhardt to drive a diesel race car.

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