The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines: a thing of the past?


Ladies and gentlemen, push your buttons. A few years ago, fans imagined that this was the start of a science-fiction race. However, if Watt Rods Incorporated accomplishes their dream, this new start command would become commonplace in NASCAR.

According to Bogdan Asciu, vice president, design director, director of marketing and advertising, and director of special projects for Watt Rods, racing is a test laboratory.

Asciu explained that from racing’s beginnings, the stresses exerted on cars provoked almost every aspect of car design and manufacturing development. No car on the road hasn’t benefited in some way from the knowledge racing has provided.

Watt Rods’ web site states their aim is to supply electronic engines, computer systems and related equipment to the electric vehicle manufacturers and eventually to NASCAR. Watt Rods’ ultimate dream is to use NASCAR as a springboard to consumer and commercial vehicles, from the smallest hatchbacks to the largest construction trucks.

“The Watt Rods technology is very highly developed and can be adapted for just about any type of vehicle,” said Asciu. “Our dream is to produce 250 mph fully electric cars that also get 500 miles to a charge at 100 mph. We’re not far from achieving that now.”

A campus fan of NASCAR shared mixed reactions to electric motors in the sport.

“With the motors that NASCAR is using now, there are many blown engines throughout races,” said Brad Davis, assistant football coach and offensive line/recruiting coordinator. “If the electric motors are reliable and keep the same speed throughout the races, NASCAR would not change.”

Justin Whapham, pit crewmember for the Matt Bowling racing team in the NASCAR All-American Series, disagrees with Davis.

“NASCAR is known for its rough and tough appearance, and by risking the action of the sport you could lose tons on revenue from ticket sales and TV advertising,” said Whapham.   “Fans beg for the sound of the cars racing down the track. Because NASCAR is heavily based in tradition, when you start to get away from that (tradition), even if it is just changing the size of the tire, people will become upset.”

Still this change is being greeted by some in management positions as an inevitable and positive step for the sport.

“Electric cars are making it on the road these days as we see in Audis and other manufacturers,” Chairman of the Board of North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame Don Miller said in an email interview. “All-electric engines are coming and it’s a good thing. It will alleviate our dependence on the Middle East, increase our knowledge of technology and increase the fan base of auto racing.”

Tom Raviele, president, founder and engineering director of Watt Rods, summarized the possible positive effects of electric cars in racing.

“There will be a new kind of fan,” said Raviele. “With this electric mentality, there will be growing competition. This technology will force battery builders to build more efficient, less-expensive batteries and will make one pint of fuel go farther and just as fast as combustion-driven cars. The cycle is usually about five years, so watch for EVs on the streets.”


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  • H 1, 2014 at 2:41 am

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this matter to be really something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll
    try to get the hang of it!