At the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Sonoma, CA, a white Jasper Engines & Transmissions truck and trailer could be spotted in the pits. But it was for more than just promotional purposes. This truck was to provide support, parts and help for teams using the JASPER 4-speed transmission.
“In the years JASPER has gone to race events, other companies that supply transmissions to race teams have sent gears along with another team in their hauler, and then basically worked out of their hauler,” says JASPER NASCAR Driveline Manager Terry DeKemper. “If one team needs something done to their transmission, they take the unit to that team’s hauler that has the gears, and make the changes there.” But DeKemper added, “This is the first time that I know of where a company has come in, brought a trailer and all the essentials, and actually worked on the transmissions.”
JASPER’s 24-foot aluminum box trailer is fitted with two work benches, shelving areas for parts, a wash station, an air compressor, and basically anything JASPER would need to regear a transmission or differential.
DeKemper and Mark Harrah of Harrah Engineering Ltd. operate the service truck. DeKemper says the support truck’s inital appearance at Sonoma was very successful.
“Teams were really receptive at the idea of us being there, bringing enough equipment and the ability to change stuff for them,” says DeKemper.
Unlike races on ovals, NASCAR does not mandate specific gear ratios at road courses for the Nextel Cup Series, so JASPER can disassemble the transmission, change the setup, and reassemble the unit to a team’s specifications.
There were eight Nextel Cup teams at Sonoma that used the JASPER 4-speed transmission, including the #42 Dodge of eventual race winner Juan Pablo Montoya. Each team had JASPER 4-speed transmissions for their primary and backup cars, plus at least one spare unit per team. JASPER took six units to the Sonoma race to either sell, or change gear ratios over, if needed, to another spare unit.
“We would get any driver feedback right away as far as any issues with the transmission,” says DeKemper. “We would go into the garage area and talk to the drivers and crew chiefs and get their input on how the unit is working, and if anything needs to be changed.”
Just as JASPER would work side-by-side with the race teams, DeKemper says their work was under the constant scrutiny of the NASCAR officials. “Anytime a transmission is opened, it must be inspected by NASCAR, where they put their stamp and seal on it,” says DeKemper. “They (NASCAR) will check the gear ratio and record it before it is installed in the race car. If the unit comes back out to be regeared, it must be re-inspected.” Added DeKemper, “They’re a pretty good watchdog.”
For additional information on products offered by Jasper Engines & Transmissions, visit www.jasperengines.com.