The heightened state of competition requires successful racers toconstantly upgrade and get the ultimate performance from every aspect oftheir program. In the minds of many, there are no huge horsepower gainsremaining. When it comes to power, the sport is speeding toward paritylike never before. Now, the challenge isn't finding 10 hp; the challengeis finding a single-unit gain in power.

The use of racing fuel is an area where the modern engine builder andracer are turning their attention. The drive for maximum efficiencybegins and ends with the fuel's performance.

Competition to provide the fuel is as heady as the on-track actionitself. Many of the major touring series do not restrict a driver'schoice, even though some of these same series have fuel companies assponsors. This freedom gives the driver a chance to work with his enginebuilder to provide the maximum power.

Changes in the sport have led fuel companies to be on their toes fordevelopments to enhance their products. Steve Burns of VP Racing Fuelssaid the changing demands of racing applications have been a boost forthe fuel maker.

"It has helped us because these changes make you get more and morespecific with the product," he said. "Now you're looking for a 1 or 2horsepower gain. Your fuel has to be specific for its purpose, for thetype of racing being done. You have to develop it to suit the exactneed.

"We've been doing that with drag racing and motorcycles. We've had tocome with 15 different fuels for NHRA classes. In motorcycles, the needsare so different that they give us different ways of looking at thingsand that can help development. It's like everything: The moresophisticated you can get with it, the better it's going to perform."

Doing the Job

A fuel is expected to allow for the engine to provide maximumperformance on a consistent basis. In order to do that, the variablesneed to be reduced or eliminated. Each gallon of fuel has to mirror thegallon before it with tight tolerances.

Because there are different types of engines with different demands,there are also different fuels to adjust to those demands. This is not aone-size-fits-all scenario.