Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: ORNL laboratory assisted winning NASCAR team

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 5, 2005 — Kevin Harvick's NASCAR victory Sunday at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was helped with technical assistance provided by the High Temperature Materials Laboratory of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

HTML Director Arvid Pasto said the assistance his lab provided found an engine problem that had not been noticed before.

"They thought they had a particular part problem, but they weren't really sure," Pasto said of the Richard Childress Racing Team, which owns Harvick's race car. "When they brought the valve spring to us, we were able to determine that what they wanted to do wasn't even necessary. There was some other problem that became apparent right away. We helped them and we helped them very quickly. This is typical of the kinds of things we can do for companies with parts that fail."

Pasto said the HTML has performed this type of work for the automotive industry and many manufacturing companies.

"We have very sophisticated equipment for finding out why things fail," Pasto said. "If it is a matter of them breaking, fatigue, wear out or just have friction and wear problems, we can measure all sorts of failure mechanisms and help people learn how to make their equipment last longer."

Pasto added his laboratory is proud of its technical contribution to Harvick's victorious effort and looks forward to possible future requests for assistance from NASCAR.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.