Throughout the '03 season, NASCAR crew chiefs and team engineers kept scratching their heads, wondering how Ryan Newman and his Dodge were winning races and pole positions. Despite numerous NASCAR tech inspections, nothing out of the ordinary was detected.

They didn't look at the water pump. It's not that Newman's Penske Racing South entry had an illegal water pump, mind you. The car had a revolutionary new one from EMP Stewart Components. The pump, specifically designed and manufactured for a Dodge Cup engine application by the Escanaba, Michigan, thermal cooling think tank, proved to be a silent killer in the vast Penske arsenal of speed last season.

"We were basically starting from scratch," states Scott Corriher, president of Penske Jasper Engines, in describing the team's switch from Ford to Dodge power for the 2003 NASCAR campaign. "Certain components on the engine have been neglected. When you think of an engine, you are focusing on cylinder heads and intake manifolds. The water pump is one of those components that has been neglected. When we went to the Dodge engine, we needed the best possible package we could get. We took a quick look at the stuff that everyone was running, and then we looked at the EMP pump. It was awesome. If we could ever make a jump so far in other would be unbelievable. To us, it was a no-brainer as soon as we looked at it. This was the best thing to run."

So what made the EMP Stewart pump so much better? It started with an analysis of the total cooling system design, according to EMP Product Development Engineer Nick Pipkorn.

"Looking at it from a systems perspective, the first thing we noticed with the old Dodge pump was that they were actually getting more flow through the engine than they needed," says Pipkorn, a Michigan Tech University engineering graduate. "We knew right away to get the correct flow with our pump, we could run it a lot slower-about 3,000 rpm. It ended up decreasing the horsepower to run the old Dodge pump from 4.8 hp to just under 1 hp for our new EMP pump. We were able to do that through a little bit of work on both the pump and the cooling system sides. That translated to more horsepower they could put to the tires or somewhere else."

In the world of NASCAR, where teams invest untold dollars in cylinder head and manifold research in an effort to find a fraction of 1 hp, this alone made the new EMP Stewart pump the Holy Grail to the Penske teams of Newman and Rusty Wallace. Cup teams fielded by Petty Enterprises also used the EMP Stewart Dodge pump in 2003.

"We're always looking for every single horsepower we can get, especially on the speedway motors," says Matt Borland, crew chief on Newman's No. 12 entry. "If you can gain just 1 hp, you really feel like you have gained something. To gain 4 hp on an open motor is a really, really big gain. Those are the kinds of gains you might make once or twice a year. Everything is so tightly restricted [by NASCAR] in certain areas that it's hard for the engine guys to find extra horsepower. If you can get extra horsepower by bolting on a part like a water pump, that's definitely an advantage."

Newman put the extra horsepower to good use, rolling to more Cup wins and pole positions than any other driver in 2003. The additional horsepower proved to be just one of the many advantages the new EMP Stewart water pump provided the team last year.

"The old Dodge pump had a lot of clutter on the front of the engine," states Pipkorn. "It had two AN hose lines wrapping around the block and going into the bottom of the block. On a Dodge Cup block, the pump feeds the water through the bottom of the block, shoots it up through the heads, and back to the radiator. We wanted to get rid of those hoses and the joints that could cause any leakage as well as incorporate any features on the front of the engine into one package. There we incorporated the timing cover into the back of the pump, elimin-ated the hoses by incorporating them into the legs of the pump, and eliminated a bolt-on fitting that went to the bottom of the engine block by using a tube- captured seal fitted with O-rings and sealed up the inlet to the block. That creates one unit that serves as the dust cover for your timing gear and acts as the pump and the center of all your belt lines.

"When everything was said and done, we shaved 8 pounds off the front of the engine with this new system," Pipkorn continues. "That included getting rid of all the old hoses as well as the timing cover. Granted, the old cover was made out of stamped aluminum, so it didn't weigh very much. The new design, however, allowed us to get rid of 14 to 16 fasteners, cutting it down to four bolts that mounted it directly to the block. All that together is where the 8-pound reduction came from. It ended up being a pretty good deal."