Baja Wins This Round, But Team Says It's Not Finished Yet

We’ve been following Team Valvoline’s bid for Baja all year. See how it turned out as employees from Valvoline and Cummins took a break from their regular jobs to test themselves at this iconic endurance race. Final in a series. 

Battling steering problems for much of the race, Cummins engineer Aaron Quinton understandably kept his eyes fixed on the narrow mountain road ahead as he drove Team Valvoline’s red truck at the 49th annual SCORE Baja 1000 endurance race in Baja California, Mexico.

So it was up to navigator Adam Sworski, Global Field Test Manager at Valvoline, to tell Quinton what he could see just beyond his passenger-side window as they made their way down the mountain.

“It’s probably about a 200-foot drop,” Sworski said calmly into the intercom connecting their helmets so they could communicate during the race.

“Don’t tell me that,” responded Quinton, Chief Engineer for the Cummins G Series Engines, perhaps only half in jest.

While they successfully navigated the mountain switch-backs, by that time in the iconic race it was easy to think that a dark cloud had been following the truck dubbed “El Tropico.” By the first pit stop just over 70 miles into the race, both mirrors were broken and the light bar on top was torn off after Quinton and Sworski rounded a turn and hit a tree branch protruding into the course.

The frame of the truck was also broken but no one was quite sure where that happened. With 3½-foot ruts, 2-feet or more of loose sand in places, rocks, boulders, washouts – it could have happened almost anywhere on the course.

A team of Cummins and Valvoline employees fixed the damage in less than an hour only to have many of their repairs break a second time farther into the race because of the rugged terrain. At that point, Team Valvoline decided to park the red truck around the 170-mile mark, about 12 hours into the race.



The team’s other truck, known as the blue truck or “El Arctico,” had even worse racing luck. Driven by professional drift drivers Chris Forsberg and Ryan Tuerck, it was knocked out at about the 96-mile mark with transmission problems.


The good news? The Cummins 2003 vintage ISB 5.9 diesel engines in El Tropico and El Arctico performed well. So did the Valvoline oil used in both trucks. In fact, the oil in El Tropico was the same oil the team used during test runs up Pikes Peak, Colorado (U.S.A.) in June. And El Arctico managed to pull El Tropico out of deep sand during the race before it succumbed to its transmission troubles.

Neither Quinton nor El Tropico co-driver Roger England, a fellow Cummins engineer, had a lot of off-road racing experience so the plan was to take it easy, figuring if they could just average 29 miles per hour they would finish in the 36 hours allotted each vehicle to complete the race.

“But the terrain was just incredibly rough, head and shoulders above anything we expected,” said England, who didn’t get a chance to drive in the actual race because El Tropico broke down before it was his turn.

“It was so rough in places you could only go 15 or 20 miles-per-hour.  And then you had to stop frequently to make repairs.”

Valvoline, one of the world’s foremost producers of motor oils, entered two 1989 Dodge Short Bed Regular Cab trucks in the Baja race to celebrate its 150th anniversary and the company’s extensive research and development history with Cummins, the lead partner on the project.

The initiative was designed to provide Valvoline employees with the chance to test their own automotive skills and learn more about their product under the harsh conditions of an endurance race. The second truck was added so Cummins employees could have the same opportunity.

Their skills were tested and then some. A trailer on one of the team’s chase trucks, for example, got stuck in deep desert sand during practice. A chase truck’s transmission broke in the desert so it couldn’t go into reverse. A dune buggy the team borrowed to explore the course sunk trying to cross a stream after a veteran driver told them he thought it would clear without a problem. And those were only some of the challenges.


Valvoline worked on both trucks in the early phases of the project, with Cummins providing the engines and expertise on their installation. Closer to the race, the red truck headed to the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.) while the blue truck remained at Valvoline headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, providing each group time to make final adjustments.

The larger team was back together in Ensenada, Mexico, where the race started and finished, for race prep and it was there that employees from the two companies began working pretty much as one. They turned their hotel courtyard into an open air garage of sorts.

cummins-valvoline-baja-race-prep-3 El Tropico makes its way down the course at the 49th annual Score Baja 1000 in Baja California, Mexico. The race starts and stops in Ensenada, Mexico.



Michael Wedding, Valvoline’s Lead Build Engineer, described the team’s efforts as “amazing… I was so glad to see the collaboration between Cummins and Valvoline.”

“That was one of the highlights for me,” said England, Director – Materials Science & Technology at the Cummins Technical Center.

There was at least one other highlight. The two trucks were a big hit with fans at the race.  They were so different from the highly customized dune buggies and trucks that dominate Baja that crowds seemed to gather wherever the trucks went. Crew members answered questions and passed out stickers to fans clamoring to learn more. Team Valvoline arguably received the loudest roar at the starting line.

But while the truck got plenty of points for nostalgia, it probably didn’t have the frame and suspension necessary for the unforgiving Baja terrain, even with the work the team did before leaving for Mexico and then at the hotel in Ensenada.

England, Quinton and Sworski all say they learned a tremendous amount and would love to race again next year.

“You’d be hard pressed to keep me away,” England said. “The way I look at it, we have not finished – yet.”


Check out a multi-part video series on Team Valvoline’s bid for Baja. Valvoline will be posting additional episodes in the weeks to come.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

Cummins Recognizes Our Veterans Who Make Our Countries and Company Better

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I came to end when the armistice took effect. One hundred years later, we still commemorate that momentous day when after four years of constant shelling and gunfire, silence ensued. 

As we near the 11th and mark Remembrance Day in countries around the world and Veterans Day in the United States, I want to recognize all of our veterans at Cummins who bring a diverse skill set and experiences to our company, customers and communities.  On behalf of the Cummins Leadership Team, thank you for your dedication, sacrifice, service and commitment to your country.  We are also deeply grateful that you are sharing your talents and skills as part of the Cummins team.

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day give those of us who have benefited from the service of our brave women and men in the armed forces the opportunity to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made on our behalf in service to their country. As the proud father and nephew of Marines, I have the privilege of spending time with both active duty and veteran members of the military and learning from their experiences.   

Last year, Cummins was officially recognized as a Military-Friendly Employer, joining a group of 180 companies who put significant time and resources into recruiting and retaining military personnel, as well as implementing policies to support our employees who continue to serve. We want the number of veterans at Cummins to continue to increase, and we can all play a role in making that happen. 

To our veterans, I want to reiterate our deep gratitude for your service, and for sharing your unique abilities and experiences with Cummins. You make us all, and the company, better. To all employees, I would ask that on this day you truly exemplify our value of caring, and take the time to recognize our veterans who have given so much of themselves to their country and to Cummins. 

Thad Ewald

Thad Ewald is the Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Cummins Inc. In this capacity, he is responsible globally for the formulation of strategy, developing and coordinating both functions, Enterprise Risk Management, starting new growth businesses and all activity for partnerships, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

A profile on Cummins Juarez

Cummins plant in Juarez

Celebrating the contributions of our Latino and Hispanic employees.

  • 2018 is forecasted to be the highest-revenue year in Cummins Juarez’s 33-year history – a testament to the importance of NAFTA.
  • Employees volunteered 30,000 hours of community service over the past five years.
  • Cummins Juarez won a 2018 Global Impact Award for a project that will generate enough green power to reduce site carbon emissions by 204 tons per year.
  • Three grants totaling $1 million were approved in 2018, which will fund impactful and sustainable projects for improving the community of Juarez and El Paso.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Cummins is celebrating the dedication and contributions of its Hispanic and Latin American employees and communities. This recognition extends to the manufacturing and supply chain employees who support Cummins on the front lines. With approximately 20 plants or sites supporting all business units located across the region, Cummins’ presence in Latin America is significant and increasingly important.

Cummins Juarez, located in the binational community of Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, is just one example. As Cummins’ largest manufacturing site for the Components business segment, Cummins Juarez produces more than 3.8 million components each year and is on target to achieve its highest-revenue year in its 33-year history.

One of the cornerstones of Cummins’ success in the region is NAFTA – the single most important trade agreement to Cummins which has helped grow the economies of the US, Mexico and Canada. Prior to the agreement, Mexico was one of the most protectionist countries in the world, with automotive imports into Mexico facing tariffs as high as 20 percent. NAFTA brought down trade barriers and allowed Cummins to avoid duplication of manufacturing capacity to take care of Mexico engine and components demand.

Cummins continues to advocate for a modernized NAFTA that incorporates trade, investment and related regulatory reforms. A renegotiated NAFTA could continue to help produce benefits across the three countries and continue to help Cummins grow in the NAFTA countries and contribute to continued growth and success at its sites across Mexico, like Cummins Juarez.

Cummins Juarez is home to Cummins Electronics and Fuel Systems (CEFS) and Cummins Emission Solutions (CES). CEFS manufactures new and legacy XPI products, such as fuel injectors, and is home to a joint venture between Cummins and Scania, a major manufacturer of commercial vehicles. CES manufactures Urea dosers and pumps.

Using several advanced salvage processes, CEFS Juarez also remanufactures electronic control modules and sensors and Cummins-designed fuel systems, and they’re proud of their remanufacturing focus. Remanufacturing is the ultimate form of recycling, as it helps reduce costs for customers and offers environmentally friendly manufacturing solutions.

Below are just a few additional highlights for Cummins Juarez.


Site Location: Juarez, México, and El Paso, Texas (warehouse).
Year opened: 1985
Site size/plant sizes (acreage/square footage): 260,000 Sq. Ft. + 70,000 Sq. Ft. for warehouse.
Business Unit: Components Business Segment
Site Leader: Robert Rivas
Site employee count: 2,593 employees
Products manufactured: Fuel systems, electronic control modules, sensors and dosing systems
Customers: Rocky Mountain Engine Plant, Jamestown Engine Plant, Seymour and San Luis Potosi Engine Business Unit plants and all aftermarket plants
Product applications: 
On-highway – semi cabs, pick-up trucks, school and public buses, RVs, fire trucks
Off-highway – marine, military vehicles, construction equipment


  • Cummins Juarez employees contributed 30,000 hours of community service in the last five years.
  • Cummins Juarez has three strategic community partners that feature impactful and sustainable projects (more than 800 children are being impacted):
    • Ojos de Dios (God’s eyes) – Priority areas include the environment and equality of opportunity
    • Carlos Urquidi Elementary School – Priority areas include education and the environment
    • Ciudad del Nino (City of the Child) – Priority area includes equality of opportunity 
  • 2018 has been an exceptional year for the Cummins Juarez Community Involvement Team, receiving three grants from the Cummins Foundation.
  • The Cummins Juarez Scholarship Program provides 15 middle school students with a monthly scholarship funded by Juarez plant employees through an innovative vending machine program (started on 2011).


  • Operations 
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Quality Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Product Engineering
  • Supply Chain – Planning and Logistics
  • Information Technology
  • Finance
Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Lisa Yoder posthumously honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Last week, Lisa Yoder, former Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Cummins, was posthumously honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Central Indiana Supply Chain Awards (CISCA).

DLisa Yoderuring the event, it was also announced the Lifetime Achievement Award would be named after Lisa in honor of her commitment and dedication to her work and the time she invested in supporting her supply chain leaders and colleagues. 

More than 200 supply chain professionals came together on Sept. 13 to recognize 37 nominees and 9 winners during the first-annual CISCA event, powered by BCforward. The event, organized by the Institute for Supply Management – Central Indiana (ISM) and the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC), is the first of its kind in Central Indiana.

Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Cummins, accepted the award in Lisa’s honor. Members of Lisa’s immediate family and several of her former Cummins colleagues were also in attendance to celebrate Lisa’s accomplishments.

“It was an honor to accept this award on Lisa’s behalf,” said Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Cummins. “She was a good friend and a valued colleague, and she left a lasting legacy at Cummins.”

Thad Ewald, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, accepts the award in Lisa's honor.

Lisa led Cummins’ Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing functions from 2011 to 2017, when she passed away after a long-fought battle with cancer. Through her tenure, she courageously led Supply Chain operations for Cummins locations across the globe. Lisa successfully pulled each supply chain function and operation under one umbrella and established the strategy for the supply chain transformation in 2012. This was no small feat, as this transformational work applied to and affected 190 countries in which Cummins does business, thousands of employees, and hundreds of work streams and processes. Lisa’s vision was instrumental in driving the current transformational journey within the Supply Chain, and her impact can still be felt today.

Lisa invested countless, selfless hours in recruiting and promoting the supply chain profession as a career choice. When Lisa became ill, she found inspiration from mentoring and teaching others the importance of the supply chain industry and living life to the fullest.

We at Cummins – those who knew her well and those who witness her legacy – couldn’t be prouder and are thrilled to see her impact live on through the CISCA Lisa Yoder Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

I am a Collaborative Robot. I am Manufacturing.

I am Manufacturing: Collaborative Robots

Advancements in technology, the internet of things and the power of big data are driving innovation across all industries – and the manufacturing industry is no different. This next wave of technological advancement in manufacturing is being dubbed Industry 4.0.

From more powerful, secure networks and universal connectivity, to advanced technologies and enterprise-wide data hubs, manufacturing’s technological future has many facets and possibilities. Today, we’re seeing examples of technological advancements within Cummins’ 90-plus Manufacturing plants across the globe. 

One example is the Collaborative Robot.

What is a collaborative robot (Cobot for short)?

Simply put, a Cobot is a robot built to safely work with and around people. They’re meant to enhance the work of humans, working side-by-side with operators to perform low-risk tasks, which is a paradigm shift for the industry.

While Cobots were first designed in the 1990s, they didn’t become an industry option until just a few years ago. The primary difference between a robot and Cobot, aside from scale, are built-in sensing systems that provide Cobots the ability to monitor a path and determine, within milliseconds, if it needs to stop due to an obstruction in its path. Traditional robots are tasked with heavy duty jobs and are locked in a secure area away from humans.

CTP Cobot

Why cobots?

There are many advantages to using Cobots today:

  • While Cobots do not replace humans, they can take over dull or repetitive tasks that would often pose ergonomic risks to operators, such as uncomfortable wrist or shoulder rotations, and allow for easier quality and process control.
  • Cobots can eliminate the required safety perimeter and safely share workspace with operators, resulting in a safer work environment and efficiencies in plant design. (Safety protocols will still exist.)
  • Cobots are typically less expensive, due to built-in safety features, and result in a lower total cost of ownership.
  • Cobots are easier to program, and allow for hands-on programming and operator involvement

Where does Cummins use Cobots today?

Cummins has two active Cobot applications, one at the Charleston Turbo Plant (CTP) in Charleston, South Carolina, and one at the Darlington Engine Plant (DEP) in Darlington, U.K. Cummins Filtration and Cummins Emission Solutions are also developing new applications utilizing Cobot technology and plan to have Cobots active within their facilities by early 2019.

The CTP Cobot, dispenses a retaining compound and has operated for more than two years without any safety or downtime issues. This application allows operators to perform quality and process inspections within the same operating space as the Cobot and has solved many concerns including safety, ergonomics, quality and downtime issues. 
The DEP Cobot was installed in early 2018 and has a 2D barcode reader that scans and extracts fuel injection trim codes. This application has solved many quality issues, as the scans must be completed in a sequential order for successful programming. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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