By admin | May 18, 2008
By Richard Allen
A few days ago during a test session at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Jeff Gordon complained about the car of Carl Edwards. According to Gordon, his rival’s car was so twisted out of shape that he questioned whether or not it would even roll onto the scales to be weighed.
In Saturday’s All Star festivities it was obvious that Edwards’ car was not the only one
“crabbing” down the straightaway.
The Car of Tomorrow has proven to be quite a handful for both drivers and engineers. Getting the car to handle has been a challenge since the day of its inception.
One thing teams have discovered is that the more wind they can get flowing over the rear wing of the car the better the car will stick to the track. To get more air to that rear wing teams have “twisted” the frames so that the rear of the cars leans out. In other words, the rear wheels do not track directly behind the front wheels.
In Charlotte, the cars were visibly leaning to the right at the rear. The car of Sam Hornish had so much yaw that it was almost possible to see the number on the right side of the car when looking at it from the front. That car was not the only car to be bent out of shape it was just the most noticeable.
NASCAR needs to immediately get a handle on this messaging of the machinery. The Car of Tomorrow has proven to be very unpopular among many long time NASCAR fans. Part of that discord has centered around the view that the car is so outside the norm of what fans are used to looking at.
If the car is allowed to be so bent out of shape fans will have even more reason to dislike it.
Not only is the view of the fans important but the word of NASCAR is at stake. When the CoT first came out the sanctioning body said it would not allow so much “tweeking” on the car as was allowed with the previous car. NASCAR appeared so intent to maintain the sanctity of their new car that fines and penalties were passed out with what seemed to be greater frequency than ever before.
Now, NASCAR seems to have turned a blind eye to the very thing it said it was not going to allow. Given that so much attention has been given to “The Twist” over the weekend expect NASCAR to suddenly decide to get tough.
NASCAR’s consistency in the area of rule enforcement has been questioned in the past. They need to not only use the inception of the CoT as a new start in car design and safety but also as a new start in consistent rule enforcement.
They should not have allowed the mangling to get this far. Many believe the Car of Tomorrow is ugly enough already. To have it looking as if it has just came out of a hurricane will not help the car’s perception. But more, the word of NASCAR is at stake. They need to prove they mean what they say when it comes to enforcing the rules.
So, come on NASCAR, stop dancing around “The Twist” and straighten those cars out before this messaging gets out of hand.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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