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Big Power Revs Up for 2024 NASCAR Season

WELCOME, N.C. (December 1, 2023) – There’s no season like off season, but for employees at ECR Engines, the off season is sometimes described as “nonexistent”. ECR is a high-performance combustion engine research, development, and production company who supply a significant number of the Chevrolet engines that do battle in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series fields each week, racing from early February to early November every season. ECR Senior Vice President, Bob Fisher, and Vice President & COO, Matthew Wiles, have over 30 years of experience combined at ECR, resulting in an abundance of knowledge on what it takes to wind down from one season and gear up for the next during the tiny window of time they call the off season. After all, “the off season is when championships are won,” said Fisher.

With the 2023 racing season in the books, Fisher and Wiles reflected back, while looking ahead at what 2024 has in store for the entire ECR engine program. ECR had a successful 2023 racing season but is expecting even more in 2024.

The Daytona 500 and west coast swing set the bar high for all of ECR Engines’ customers, beginning in February of 2023. “I think we ‘won’ the Daytona 500, but we didn’t win the Daytona 502” Fisher said mentioning the overtime scenario and final result of the 2023 Daytona 500. “We started off on the right foot, and of course going to California and dominating and winning the race with Kyle Busch, felt like we were off to a great start. Winning three races early in the season certainly created a lot of momentum,” Fisher further elaborated.

That’s three NASCAR Cup Series wins for just one of the six teams that ECR supply engines for in 2023. In total ECR’s engine lease partners brought home seven Cup Series wins and nine Xfinity Series wins in 2023. Other ECR partners in the Cup Series include: Kaulig Racing, Trackhouse Racing, Legacy Motor Club, Beard Motorsports, and Live Fast Racing. In the Xfinity Series, among others ECR supplied engines to Richard Childress Racing, Big Machine Racing, Kaulig Racing, Jordan Anderson Racing, B.J. McLeod Motorsports, and SS Greenlight. .

“We have some ready to race 2023 sealed engines that will be utilized early next year so there are some engines redacting some of the work we have to do in the off season,” said Fisher. That’s a benefit since ECR maintains 200 or more engines in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series pools which must be looked over, cleaned, serviced, and potentially fully rebuilt. “Sealed engines” literally refers to the method that NASCAR use to enforce rules where engines must be raced multiple times per build, where a tamper proof-metal wire is placed through assembled special fasteners that hold the cylinder head and engine sump and is sealed with a traceable NASCAR tag. Engine builders may service external and some internal components of the sealed engine between races, however the core of the engine including bearings, pistons, crankshafts, and camshafts cannot be changed. NASCAR have implemented the sealed engine rule to balance costs and engine development, which poses a challenge to ECR and the other engine builders as they strive to produce the most powerful engines possible while meeting multi-race durability targets.

Part of the offseason service and rebuild process includes supplying new parts across the Cup and Xfinity engine fleets. Each of ECR’s 102 employees must stay one step ahead when it comes to stocking inventory for engine parts to meet race deadlines. Currently, as with many other companies and industries, managing supply chain issues is a constant battle.

“One of the challenges we have is with our supply chain is being able to get parts when we need them. We can physically validate new components and refined parts, but to get them in time to build the engines and take them to Daytona and the west coast swing can be problematic,” said Fisher.

For the start of the 2024 racing season, Fisher and Wiles expect to have nearly 30 engines ready for just the Xfinity and Cup races at Daytona. Throughout the entire year, ECR’s team will build almost 450 engines for its partners across both series.

“It’s a team effort for sure. In terms of the build time, it takes about four weeks to build the engine starting from when we tear down the engine to refurbishing, cleaning, and inspecting, followed by the build process,” said Fisher.

The “build process” is much easier said than done. Perfection takes time, and ECR strives to produce perfect engines for each of their customers week in and week out. Once the engine is built, then dyno tested to confirm performance, that engine will go into the “dress out room” where it goes through another battery of inspections. Once the engine is “final dressed” it will go to the respective team to be installed in the car. The work isn’t over though once that engine is delivered and installed. In fact, it’s just the beginning.

“The fuel lines, exhaust system and wiring will all be hooked up in the car and then once that’s done, the car comes back to ECR, so we can run it on our chassis dyno. It isn’t over just because we build the engine and deliver it, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Fisher.

The key to the many years of success that ECR has had is dedicated to the emphasis that ECR places on maintaining excellence.

“Well, we don’t really believe in luck, we’re firm believers in preparation meets opportunity so we live by that. that’s the product we vow to supply our customers with. Our validation process and level of intensity we put into maintaining our history of being the best, we put a lot into that. I know people say all the time, it’s one thing to get to the top, but it’s another thing to stay there,” said Fisher.

It’s no problem for ECR to get to the top, but with the perseverance and dedication each employee has, staying there is looking promising for ECR Engines in 2024.