As NASCAR kicks off its 75th anniversary season, it does so with at least one fairly consistent feature from its opening days — race vehicles powered by combustion engines.

While NASCAR and its OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) all appear to agree on a next step to a form of hybrid technology or electrification, how that will begin and on what timetable seems much more elusive.

“Obviously social and market forces are driving all of us as car manufacturers to be respectful and to be sensitive to put carbon reduction at the front of our business,” said David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development.

NASCAR officials confirmed there is no timetable for changes to the engines currently utilized in its premier Cup Series.

Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance and motorsports for Chevrolet, said the OEM is working on “steps to hybridization or testing” in every series in which it participates.

Mark Rushbrook, global director for Ford Performance Motorsports, said an intermediate step could involve moving to a “low carbon fuel or a responsible fuel” while still utilizing a combustion engine.

“We‘ve got a great formula here with Cup and Xfinity and Trucks and three good national series, but there‘s an opportunity to look and do more and try to introduce that technology in a way that makes sense.”


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