Chevy investigates Tyler Reddick propeller shaft failure at Clash
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chevrolet’s NASCAR program manager says a damaged driveshaft caused Tyler Reddick’s mechanical failure as he drove in the Clash at the Coliseum on Sunday.
The #8 Chevrolet was leading cautiously on lap 53 on the temporary 0.25-mile oval when Reddick suddenly slowed down with what driver Richard Childress Racing originally thought was a broken transaxle.
“He was about to start again, trying to get the tires warm and dropped the clutch a little too, too sharply,” Dr. Eric Warren, director of NASCAR programs for General Motors, told NBC Sports in an interview Monday. at the NASCAR Hall of Fame (where Jesse Iwuji the new #34 Xfinity Series Chevrolet has been unveiled). “So it was damage with the propeller shaft. It wasn’t the transaxle. The driveshaft is now called the driveshaft with the way the transaxle works.
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“I think the (Colosseum) track being very small is a cause for concern in Martinsville just because a lot of equipment and such a violent restart would probably be something to think about. At the time, we didn’t haven’t really seen this problem in the past so we need to look into it a bit. The cars had a lot more starting. I think a lot of the drivers were surprised at how well they were able to start. There Any technical work to do on this (failure) unique to something we’ve never seen before? Was it a specific part failure? A new type of part? I’m sure we’ll dig into this in detail and have good answers.
Sunday marked the debut of the Next Gen car, which is a revolutionary new concept in which Cup Series teams essentially assemble spec-type cars with chassis, parts and parts that are built by suppliers. For the first 70 years of its existence, NASCAR allowed teams to be self-sufficient in building their cars from the ground up.
With the new degree of standardization of critical parts from single suppliers, there will be as much scrutiny of quality control as ever, as a once isolated problem could easily become widespread.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 6, 2022
Warren said NASCAR is getting more and more contributions from teams now building their fleets for the 2022 season after an anxious offseason.
“Honestly, NASCAR has been great, and it’s been a mountainous challenge,” Warren said. “They get a lot of information. They responded as best they could. With the supply chain issues, it was very difficult. I think every team would like to have more cars and parts, but the bright side of how the car is designed and intended was having fewer cars. So now they’re going to have to deal with that and just like things that break in testing, you don’t want to do that, but you learn things.
“The first part of the schedule (of the Cup season) you see a bit of everything. After driving through Phoenix, and then probably Martinsville, you’ve hit most types of trails and put the car through its paces. The durability of the car is generally much better than the previous generation, so just iron out all the new parts with new suppliers and make sure that if there are any adjustments to the designs, that has to happen .
During the same cautious period on Sunday, Chase Briscoe had a transmission problem that “looked a lot like” Reddick’s, Warren said. “I don’t know if it was a similar issue, so we’ll have to digest as we go.”
Denny Hamlin also had a power steering belt that apparently came loose, which Warren says wasn’t necessarily uncommon on the Gen 6.
“It looked like something threw a belt,” he said. “It could have been the blocked pump. It’s hard to say yet if it was a steering rack issue. We saw a lot of work and a lot of stuff during testing. Denny said the belt came off first, so it might have nothing to do with it.
With teams facing limited stocks of cars and parts heading to the Daytona 500, there were concerns of a short-track exhibition race producing wreckage that could deplete their limited supplies. But Warren said even the most damaged cars of Aric Almirola and Justin Haley should be repaired quickly by Monday.
“I think everyone was really worried about damaging the cars, because there weren’t a lot of them, and looking at the damage of every car out there, they’re probably already repaired,” Warren said. “The beauty of this car is how quickly it can be repaired. I’m sure any of these crashes I’ve seen, if there was a practice today, they would run. There was nothing significant. Even watch the crashes during testing. Austin Dillon’s crash in Charlotte, it was a really bad crash, and they were back on the track the next day. Yesterday’s accidents were quite small.
Many riders were also encouraged by the fact that despite numerous knocks and bangs over the course of 150 laps, there seemed to be virtually none of the cut tires that often resulted from bent sheet metal after contact with the Gen 6.
Warren was “surprised” at how well the Clash went after being unsure of the event despite GM engineers being able to predict accurate lap times from Reddick’s work in the GM driving simulator.
“A quarter mile is a very narrow track, so with the brand new asphalt we really weren’t sure if the track would be car friendly,” he said. “They could drive on the apron and everything was super exciting. The track held up well. The cars held up well overall considering the first race. Then the environment around it.
Because the Cup schedule does not have other quarter-mile tracks or similar weekend racing formats of heat races and qualifying, Warren said the knowledge that can be gleaned from the LA event were limited. But he was encouraged by managing engine temperatures with fewer cooling options.
“This car has been tested more than any car, any next-gen car, whether COT or previous ones,” Warren said. “I’m confident in the car. There are going to be problems. I think the rest of the tracks we’re going to see durability things that we haven’t seen. There have been plenty of miles on the car with all the testing done by NASCAR. But I think it will be different when we see him in real competition.