Shelby 427: Mechanical Problems Continue in NASCAR

John DoeCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2009

I can not remember the last time I've seen so many mechanical breakdowns over a two race stretch.

Say what you want to about the teams pushing the envelope in order to gain an advantage, but like an onion, the more layers you peel in this mystery, the more it stinks.

Teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing just don't have mass mechanical problems or part failures too often, and the fact that they have on back-to-back weekends is disturbing.

This epidemic reeks of a problem that can be traced to the people selling parts to the teams.

Yes, I know the new tire combination is producing faster, more sustained lap speeds at Vegas (and 9,500 RPM entering the turns on many cars), but these top teams have assembled some of the best mechanics in the world.

For the past several years, they have more than proven to be capable of building engines that are durable.

Just look at the fact that last year, no one retired from either the spring California or Las Vegas race due to a mechanical problem. Here is an incomplete list of the victims the last two weeks:


Engine related problems: Team Red Bull (practice and race), Michael Waltrip Racing (practice), Earnhardt Jr., Martin, Almirola

Transmission related problems: Johnson, Earnhardt Jr.


Las Vegas

Engine related problems: Kenseth, Ragan, Team Red Bull (practice), Michael Waltrip Racing (practice), Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch (practice)

Transmission related problems: Martin (car jumped out of gear, causing engine to blow on over revving)

Note that Hendrick has already admitted that their rash of engine failures at California was due to part problems, and that the Toyota contingent believes their engine issues on Friday were due to some kind of problem with the camshaft.

Let's hope this epidemic gets cured expeditiously.

It's shame seeing contenders, backed by some of the best engine builders in the business, having these early season maladies.