While yet to see a dyno, this...
While yet to see a dyno, this E85 motor's performance is comparable to the driver's former methanol powerplant. Courtesy of Dustin Reeh
For example, I'm getting my ethanol straight out of the pump. Well, in the wintertime they lower the percentage of ethanol and in the summer they raise it. I got a gauge from Quick Fuel that tells you the percentage of ethanol in the fuel. Well, once we started checking different stations we found ranges from 83 percent all the way to 90 percent ethanol.
"Once I found a consistent supply, I tuned it in with jets. It probably took about four or five races then we were right back in the swing of things. My finishes show better in 2009 than they did in 2008, so I'm super tickled with the whole thing."
Another plus to changing to E85 from methanol is that E85 is less maintenance. Methanol racers will typically drain the fuel bowls in the carburetor after every race and then fill them with gas so the motor is ready to fire again. As mentioned earlier, methanol is really corrosive and hard on parts. Whereas the 15 percent of gasoline found in E85 keeps the corrosion to a minimum, and it's far lower maintenance than compared to methanol. Reeh found just a little bit of white corrosion in the fuel bowls from the E85 at the end of his '09 season which consisted of almost 20 races.
But the real advantage to E85 is the weekly cost. "The station we get our ethanol from is right on the way to the track," says Reeh. "Each week it costs about 20 bucks to fuel the car up. Before that we were spending anywhere from 45 to 50 bucks a week on methanol."
Although the energy deficit of the fuel can't be fully overcome, current costs of ethanol relative to race fuel are lower and would result in a net decrease in the cost to the user. Corrosive issues associated with ethanol are well known, and the parts are already available to remove this concern at a low cost.
Compared to methanol, ethanol is nontoxic, less corrosive, has higher energy densities, and is already available in large volumes, reducing the vulnerability of racers to oil price increases and supply disruptions. All of these benefits add up to a fuel that could hold much promise for the future of racing, and greater sustainable energy independence as well. Think of it this way, if you cut your fuel consumption by more than 50 percent like Dustin Reeh you can race more than 50 percent more.
We thought you'd be interested in the vitals on Dustin's motor and just what goes into racing a "green" Dirt Late Model. This is a wet-sump engine with an 8-quart oil pan, although Dustin says he may add an Accusump this year. You might be surprised at what little difference there is in his engine compared to a straight gas motor.
• 358ci. small-block Chevy
• GM forged steel crankshaft
• 5.7 eagle rods
• TRW 12.5:1 forged pistons
• Reed roller camshaft
• Crower roller lifters
• Brodix SPCH WISSOTA-spec cylinder heads, 2.08 intake valves,1.6 exhaust valves
• Brodix HV 1000 intake manifold
• Race Pumps fuel pump and regulator
• Quick Fuel Technologies 750cfm E85 carburetor, 92 jets (baseline)
• Performance Distributors D.U.I. HEI distributor
• Scott plug wires
• Schoenfeld 1 3/4 to 1 7/8 headers
• AMSOIL 15W-50 synethetic oil