Las Vegas Notebook: EFI system proving to be glitchy
A new electronic fuel injection system is causing some head scratching in the Sprint Cup garage.
NASCAR introduced the EFI system to the series this season and through the first two races there have been glitches that weren't uncovered in offseason testing.
"It's certainly an issue that has arisen that we're all aware of and we all have to work through it as best we can and figure out the solution to the problem," Kyle Busch said. "Whether that solution is this week or whether it's not until May or not until the end of the year I don't know, but certainly those guys are working through all the different scenarios as best they can."
The biggest problem drivers have had with the new system is getting the car to restart once it's been turned off.
Often when drivers are fighting fuel mileage at the end of a race, they'll turn the car off to save gas, then turn it back on. But instead of just letting the clutch out and getting the car to re-fire, drivers now have use the starter switch to get it going again.
It hasn't always worked.
Joey Logano had a problem restarting his car at Daytona, while Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton all had issues at Phoenix International Raceway last week.
The teams are working to figure out what's going wrong, but they haven't zeroed in on it quite yet.
"I don't know if we've seen all the issues that there's going to be," Brad Keselowski said. "I think that when the races get hotter, there's a lot of potential for failure, but I don't think anyone can really quantify what those potentials are or put any odds on it because we are seeing things that I don't think we even predicted we would see."
Until the EFI issues get worked out, drivers could be forced to try different tactics to save fuel at the end of races, things like coasting, pushing in the clutch in the corners, not hitting the throttle so hard.
"Vegas very easily can come down to a fuel mileage race; any of these races could," Busch said. I think the best case scenario obviously is to try to keep your car running the best you can - whether you're pushing the clutch in getting it into the corners and just letting the thing idle or what have you.
Patrick's New Goals
At the start of the season, Danica Patrick set a series championship as one of her goals for her first full year in Nationwide.
A rough start has her shifting her aim a little lower.
"I think that I gave myself maybe a little bit of false expectation about running this year for the championship and probably using those words `for the championship," she said. "It's my first full year and what I've done still doesn't add up to one year, and I didn't have anything before that at all in stock cars. So I think I need to remind myself every now and again of really where the expectation level should be and where mine should be
Patrick was wrecked by JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt in the season-opening race at Daytona and struggled last week at Phoenix, finishing three laps down.
Coming out of Daytona, Patrick said she felt drained after being caught up in the hype and hope of doing well, then being so disappointed with her finish.
"I think that got to me a little bit, and especially coming from Daytona and having such disappointing results," she said. "Whatever happened or didn't happen on the track, it was just I get attached to the results, for sure. Part of that is my job, to get good results. Sometimes I dwell on that too much."
Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson will start from the back of Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup race after switching to backup cars following during practice on Saturday.
Busch, who qualified second for the race, brushed the wall during the first practice session, damaging the frame and right rear of the car.
Johnson, a four-time winner at Las Vegas, slammed the wall in the second session, damaging the right side and rear end of his No. 48 Chevrolet.
"Just trying to get all I could," Johnson said.
Gambling In Vegas
With NASCAR in Las Vegas this weekend, one of the questions asked of the drivers was whether they gamble on NASCAR races.
Some do, but most don't.
"I think they're terrible odds for everyone," Brad Keselowski said. "I don't know how they figure that out. NASCAR is not a good sport to gamble on. In fact it's pretty terrible."
Greg Biffle was one of the drivers who did gamble on himself early in his career, but a bad beat quickly put an end to it.
"When we came here in the Truck Series, my truck was super, super fast so I bet on myself to win and lost on the last lap, so ever since then I decided not to bet anymore," he said.
Jimmie Johnson was listed as the favorite at 4-1 by vegasinsider.com.