KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Dodge Motorsports debuted its new NASCAR Sprint Cup engine Sunday in the No. 2 Penske Racing entry of Kurt Busch.
The engine, known as an R6P8, was difficult to assess, though, as Busch endured handling problems throughout Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Mike Delahanty, senior manager of Dodge Motorsports, said that the teams have been working with the new engine over the course of this season, first in the shop, then at midweek tests and now in a race.
"It’s the normal evolution, not just [of] an engine, of any type of new part or technology we introduce into the sport," he said.
He said that Penske Racing has been using the model in midweek tests for several months and that the group is confident that it is ready to be tried out in race conditions. He says the other Dodge teams are also in the development phase with the model.
“Our other teams are following a parallel course with Penske," Delanhanty said following the race. "They have the R6 engines in the development phase building power and also out in the midweek test vehicles running durability laps. It’s not clear yet how soon the other teams will roll the new engine out in competition. As we’ve said in the past, it’s quiet.
"That’s a good sign. It will be a period of time before the engine is fully phased in because of the number of engines required. Another factor, the R5, [which is the current engine], is a proven durable piece. The new motor is good. The current motor is still good, too.”
While Delahanty said the group was pleased with the debut, Busch said it was difficult to evaluate it since he hit the wall twice in a three-lap period as he battled the handling of the car.
Mike Nelson, Penske's vice president of operations, said that the 1.5-mile Kansas track was a good site to make the debut and that now the group can look at a variety of tracks at which to use it.
"We’ll have it in the race car at Phoenix," he said. "That will be a good short-track experience. We have Atlanta and Charlotte, a lot of different tracks coming up. We’ll see how it goes and keep moving forward. It depends on where we are at with it and how things go, but we would like to continue to run it the rest of the season.”
That will give the team a good idea of where it stands in developing the model. Despite the Penske team's struggles Sunday, crew chief Pat Tryson said that the new engine does seem to be an improvement over the manufacturer's current model.
“It seems to be an improvement and we expect it to be a good thing for us in the long run," he said. "It’s not earth shattering by any means, but we didn’t expect it to be. This is probably not the best place to tell.
"In order to get your car running good here, you don’t have a lot of rear grip so it’s hard to drive off. I think we’ll see as we go along what advantages the engine will provide.” - scenedaily.com