Fuel management is key to success in NASCAR. Races are won and lost depending on a team’s ability to accurately measure the amount of fuel necessary to cover the distance. At this year’s Pocono 500, I asked Dr. Eric Warren, the director of competition for Richard Childress Racing, for some insight into gas mileage racing in NASCAR.
“Each race is a certain length,” Dr. Warren explained. “Say it’s a 400-mile race. The objective is to get to the finish line and 400 miles quicker than anyone else.” NASCAR cup cars have fuel tanks that hold approximately 18.5 gallons. “Let’s say we can get a hundred miles on a tank of gas depending upon the racetrack, that might be 60 laps or it might be 50 laps on a two-mile track,” Dr. Warren continued. “If that caution comes out with 53 laps to go or 110 miles to go you have to stretch and make sure you start saving fuel because making it to the end of the race is more important than having to make an extra pit stop.”