Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NASCAR Hoping Rule Changes Will Boost Competition

A new NASCAR technical bulletin has teams scrambling to book wind tunnel time this week, preparing for a series of aerodynamic changes designed to improve safety and increase competition.

NASCAR will mandate shorter side skirts on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars beginning this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while also requiring full-length air deflectors – also known as “shark fins” -- on the roofs, rear windows and trunk lids on tracks of two miles or more.

Most of the changes have already been tested by the sanctioning body as part of recent Goodyear tire tests.

NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said he is hopeful the changes will keep cars on the ground during high-speed crashes, while also removing some of the aerodynamic advantage enjoyed by race leaders on intermediate tracks.

“It’s a marginal change,” said Pemberton, “but it does take downforce off the cars.”

Drivers remain split on whether the changes will significantly impact competition. Former series champion Matt Kenseth said, “I think they’re just trying to make it a little easier to pass (and) take a little bit of downforce and sideforce off the cars so the lead car doesn’t have quite as big of an advantage.”

Martin Truex, Jr. – currently sixth in championship points – said that at least in the short term, the changes may benefit front-running teams. “The bigger teams will figure it out first,” he said. “They have the resources to book wind tunnel time and determine exactly how these changes will affect their cars. The low-budget teams will need more time to figure it out.”


  1. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Holy (fill in the word), boost competition how? Have big ungainly packs everywhere that crash and burn to satisfy the Full Metal Wrestling fans who aren't satisfied with REAL racing?

    It's getting absurd. What's next, four cylinder engines?

    I see no good coming from this and the first time air gets under a car and it flies, it will be because they've again removed more downforce.

    Doug from NJ

  2. I don't get it. NASCAR doesn't want to be compared to the WWE but they're manufacturing racing? They're essentially trying to dictate how the race is run. Great. Problem is, you can't control the drivers themselves. So if they race conservatively, no amount of changes to the car is going to make the race more "competitive". This is getting old. I wish they'd establish a rules package and just stick with it. Make your modifications during the off season, deal with the consequences through the season and then in the next off season make changes.

    They never allow enough time for the racing to evolve and to really see the true results of what they change.

    Makes me want to scream, all these changes.