JOE GIBBS ENGINES:
Mark Cronquist says VP Racing Pro Grade engine oil is the best racing oil. Period. That’s a massive endorsement. If you’re not familiar with Cronquist, here’s a little background.
Joe Gibbs is one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Very few can match his clout. Cronquist has spent close to 30 years at Joe Gibbs Engines. As the Director of Engine Department, he’s one of the most accomplished engine builders in racing. His resume includes multiple NASCAR championships and Engine Builder of the Year awards.
In the racing industry, he has few equals among engine builders. His team is synonymous with great engine building in all motorsports, from NASCAR to offroad racing and everything in between.
Cronquist started the off-road program for Joe Gibbs Engines several years ago. The guys at Terrible Herbst Motorsports convinced him he could make a mark in the off-road world.
The Herbst team runs several trucks in all the big off-road events in North America. This list includes SCORE International’s Baja races, the Best in the Desert series, the Mint 400, and the treacherous Ultra 4 King of the Hammers.
CRONQUIST & VP RACING
Over the years, Mark and VP Racing have built a strong relationship, running various fuels in different engine programs. VP first met with Cronquist in the spring of 2020 to discuss running VP Pro Grade engine oils. Mark was already familiar with VP’s commitment to product performance quality and performance consistency.
He agreed to run extensive dyno tests with Pro Grade engine oil in their off-road engine program. Cronquist wanted to see how Pro Grade matched up with his previous oil suppliers.
It’s one thing for VP to proclaim Pro Grade as the best racing oil. It’s another thing to prove it’s the best racing oil brand.
Cronquist spent an entire off-season dyno testing VP Racing’s Pro Grade and running real-world tests. Did the results convince him that Pro Grade was the best oil for racing?
Let’s just say that he and the team at Joe Gibbs Engines liked what they saw. Okay, that’s an understatement. Mark was so impressed, he mandated using Pro Grade in all engines he provided for off-road customers.
JOE GIBBS ENGINES & VP RACING SEE IMMEDIATE RESULTS
It didn’t take long for the mandate to pay off. Ryan Arciero won the BITD 2022 Vegas to Reno race. It was the first time he used VP Pro Grade engine oil and VP Late Model Plus fuel.
The success for Gibbs and VP didn’t end there. Adam Householder captured the 2023 King of the Hammers. That’s one of the most demanding off-road races on the planet. Like Arciero, Householder ran Late Model Plus and Pro Grade in his Trophy Truck.
Today, Cronquist and Joe Gibbs Engines is the engine provider for several teams in the off-road world. They’ve sold close to 20 off-road engines to some of the top teams in the sport. The list includes names like Terrible Herbst Motorsports, Concrete Motorsports, Ryan Arciero and Kyle Washington, Householder Motorsports, and People’s Racing.
Recently, VP Racing sat down with Cronquist to discuss his experience with VP, why he switched to Pro Grade Engine Oil, and why he feels it’s the best racing oil.
VP RACING INTERVIEW WITH MARK CRONQUIST
BEST OIL FOR RACING? VP PRO GRADE PASSES THE TEST
VP: We hear you suggest that people use our Pro Grade 15W-50 oil. We believe it’s the best racing oil, but why are you telling people to use it?
MC: We started having some issues with our previous oil and had been testing the VP oil for about a year or so for Concrete Motorsports. Everything looked so good. It was just, one day, “We have to change this.” The results were just incredible.
VP: Since switching, what results have you seen with the product?
MC: We went and ran between probably 400 and 700 miles on motors, pulled them apart, and we absolutely felt like, “Why are we pulling these apart now?” Some of the issues we were having with some wrist pin wear and piston scuffing – rubbing on the cylinder walls – all those issues went away.
VP: So you had some issues before that our oil solved?
MC: It fixed it for us, yes.
ENGINE OIL CONSISTENCY IS KEY TO SUCCESS
VP: How important is it to trust that VP oils are consistent from batch to batch?
MC: It has to be consistent because if we make a change on something else, all the other hundred parts of the motor have to be the same, or we won’t know. Say if we change rod bearing clearance, and you guys change something with the oil. If we don’t know that, we could end up screwing ourselves over it.
With consistency, we can make improvements with every motor we build. After a race, we see parts and pieces, and we might say, “Let’s put a little more oil here, or we can take a little more oil out here.” But the oil and every other part of the motor has to be consistent so that we know what we’re doing. The oil and the fuel have to be consistent.
VP: You mentioned that you were having issues with another oil. Could you elaborate a little more on that?
MC: We went to the Baja 500 and had an issue with one motor, so we pulled everyone else’s motor apart and saw some wrist pin wearing. The biggest question there you get to is, “Is it oil? Is it the wrist pin coating? Is it the rod?”
After checking everything and anything, we determined we needed to change [the] oil because the oil was the issue. The VP oil fixed the problem. It looked perfect after the 400.
VP: How much experience have you had since switching to Pro Grade?
MC: We won the Vegas to Reno race with Ryan Arciero, and we had five trucks in the Baja 400. We pulled all those motors apart, and they all looked great.
“THIS IS THE ONLY OIL THEY CAN USE IN OUR MOTORS”
VP: Is this [VP race engine oil] something you suggest to your other race programs?
MC: After seeing the results of the VP oil in off-road, it definitely needs to be looked at in our other programs.
VP: Is this something you’re making all your engine buyers use?
MC: Right now, we’re telling everybody this is the only oil they can use in our motors. I would mention something about your service and how quickly.….we were in a bind, and you guys jumped through hoops and got teams’ oil quickly. It was seamless and quick.
VP: How important is it to work with a company that understands motorsports at a high level like you guys?
MC: It’s very important because the world moves very slowly unless you’re in a racing industry, and then everything happens – has to happen – overnight. Everything gets shipped overnight. Nothing is the same today as tomorrow, and people have to be able to jump through hoops to get you stuff and do stuff for you. You guys do a great job of doing that.
Fred Turza has deep roots in racing. VP’s Technical Manager of Research & Development is a premier engine builder.
He has over 35 years of experience in motorsports across multiple disciplines. Turza has helped launch race fuel programs within numerous sanctioning bodies in racing.
When asked about Cronquist and VP’s relationship with Joe Gibbs Engines, Turza says, “Joe Gibbs is on the Mount Rushmore of engine builders. When you look at their race team, the first thing you can think of is Joe Gibbs standing out there with his headset on.
And now they spin this into an off-road program, which is quite an accomplishment. Most engine builders don’t stray away from their main engine platform, and Mark has done that with great success.”
Turza adds, “It’s impeccable to have him, Joe Gibbs Engines, on board with us and to run our lubricants and fuels. Having full confidence in our products is a huge success for us. We’re proud to be part of their program.
To learn more about how VP Racing’s full line of lubricants can boost your vehicle’s performance, please visit www.VPRacingFuels.com/EngineOil