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Everyone running the same speed is not a good thing

By admin | April 16, 2012

By Richard Allen

For whatever reason, NASCAR higher-ups have determined that all the cars running the same speed is a good thing. To achieve that effect, rules for the sport’s Sprint Cup division have been laid out in such a way as to create manufactured parity.

As a result, the bodies are all the same and there are virtually no areas within the car’s setup that allow for variations which means everyone is basically using the same setup on Goodyear’s rock hard tires. And because of that, the parade effect is commonplace during long green flag runs.

At one point in Saturday’s race at Texas, Fox television commentator Darrell Waltrip turned to his counterpart, Larry McReynolds, and almost excitedly pointed out that their scoring monitors showed all the cars running within a couple of tenths of each other. While that may sound like a good thing, and it does keep many of the cars bunched together and on the lead lap, it does not allow for any passing.

On 1.5-2 mile ‘cookie cutter’ tracks such as Texas, the parade effect is more pronounced due to the fact that the dreaded ‘aero-push’ has its greatest impact on those high speed and aerodynamically sensitive tracks. ‘Aero-push’ refers to the car’s inability to turn as well as the driver might like when the leading car blocks the air from hitting the trailing car’s nose.

In the end, no passing takes place and the race is labeled as “boring”.

The solution to this situation would be for NASCAR to remove the many edicts currently in place regarding setups. Too many aspects of the setups are dictated which has everyone essentially driving the same car.

If teams were allowed more leeway, there would be a greater variety of setups being used. That, in turn, would create a situation in which some cars might be better on shorter runs while others might be better on longer runs. The ‘comers and goers’ effect allows for more passing throughout a green flag run. So if an event were to go like that in Texas in which there were long stretches of continuous racing, there could still be exchanges of positions.

Sunday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway provided a demonstration of this. Because of that track’s abrasive asphalt, tires wear quickly which causes those who abused their tires early in the run to drop back as the laps pass and those who conserved their tires to move up as the laps go by.

It would be possible to create this same effect without abrasive asphalt with greater disparity of setups.

If NASCAR wants fewer “boring” races and more passing they need to allow greater leeway with shocks, springs, camber angles, gear ratios and spoiler angles. Oh, and slightly softer tires wouldn’t hurt either. Following these suggestions would keep everyone from running the same speed.

Click on the link to listen to my Audio Podcast-> Was the Texas race boring?

Topics: Articles |

12 Responses to “Everyone running the same speed is not a good thing”

  1. Russ Says:
    April 16th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Agree 100% with the cause and the problem. But I propose a different solution.

    Since nobody cares about qualifying anyway, and in this form of racing starting position means nothing -

    Limit practice to the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. Just enough to make sure that the car is safe. Then impound the cars until just before the race.

    That way you would have basically the same deal you have at a short track every weekend. You sure wouldnt have the cars running the same speed.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve said for a couple years now the solution is easy and pretty inexpensive.

    1. Get rid of the front splitter and replace it with a simple spoiler no wider than the inside width of the tires (Nascar has that measurement off of CL)
    2. Get rid of the side skirts completely.
    3. Lower the spoiler and allow a few degrees of trimming (M’ville verses Talledega and allows speed verses downforce options)

    Do just those 3 things and you eliminate most of the aero and get back to mechanical grip.

    That would almost assure that coil binding and bump stop suspensions woulf go the way of the do do bird. The only real reason for those suspension settings is to take advantage of the aero styling.

    oops ….. forgot to mention the spoiler bottom would be 1/2 inch above where the bottom of the oil pan is ……… That would definitely reduce the high pressure/low pressure differential that the cars depend on now.

  3. Earner Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Sue Rarick may have some thing there…But I’m still gonna go with Rich. Get back to the team thing you know innovation & invention…It used to be that street cars had some of these innovations that originated on race cars…& Jr Johnson was a better eng than the mfg’s were getting back in the day…You know an american hero ..Can you imagine what could happen if you let a guy like Chad loose in there…Yeah I Know RACING….& We need less tire NOW…& not so many of brians fav tracks (Dull D’s) …Yes every thing that built Nascar is now to be discarded wouldn’t Bill & Son be proud of brain …Nice to be trendy & hope that gets you by when theres no tv contract & then we’ll see the cost of racing decrease a bit..the COT was to cut costs for the teams …Hows that working out

  4. Charles Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    It sounds like some people don’t really know what they’re talking about. Getting rid of most of the practice? Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed, the quality of the racing started to go downhill when testng, except for Goodyear tire testing, was eliminated in 2009, because the teams had to start guessing on setups because they had no knowledge going into a race weekend on what the tire-track combination was going to be. If you get rid of a large amount of practice, things are only going to get worse from a competition point of view.

    And they’ve already gotten rid of the front splitter. They did that two years ago when they got rid of the rear wing. And they’re going to a new car next year, anyway.

    Also, getting rid of things like the side skirt is a bad idea because, while the side skirt increases downforce while going forward, it and several other similar devices also adds stability to the car when it gets sideways, which in turn keeps it on the ground so it doesn’t get airborne. Beofer things like the side skirts, rail fins, and side windows were all made mandatory, when cars got sideways, they got airborne, something that can not be tolerated.

    But there’s something else that everyone else seems to be missing, and that is the fact that you don’t go as far on tires as you used to, because you can no longer go that far on a tank of fuel. It used to be that you had to make the tires last about 100 miles before you had to pit to get new one under green flag conditions. But because of recent changes, especially in the fuel, teams can now only go 75-80 miles on a tank of fuel. As a result of not having that 20% at the end of a fuel run, the drivers can go all-out as hard as they can, realizing that tire management is no longer a factor, since by the time that would becoome a factor, they have to pit for fuel so they get new tires anyway. And because of that, everyone’s going flat out because they no longer have to worry about tire durability, because they can change them at 70-80 miles instead of having to go close to 100.

    If it got to where you had to go 90-100 miles on a tank of fuel, instead of the 70-80 that you run now, tire managemen would be important again, and you would see better racing as a result. At a track like Texas, that’s an extra 15 laps per fuel run that you no longer have to run because you can no longer go that far on a tank of fuel.

  5. lee b Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Well NASCAR got what it wanted EVERYONE RUN the same.
    we now have an IROC race every week.
    Nascar has made it so that there is no way for a team to try new ideas

  6. midasmicah Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    ….and Kansas is next up..ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  7. oldirtracker Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    all the above is why i simply go to my local short track and see real racing, a 500mile parade lap is not what i sarted loving over 50 years ago. Hell IROC was a better show than sprint cup is now. anybody for wwf with.
    a couple circus clowns thrown in.

  8. Tony Geinzer Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I really would love to see new tire brands in NASCAR, but, that would anger the fans.

  9. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I agree with oldirtracker as this is not what I started watching in 1965. When BZF and idiots took over it ended and maybe a little sooner. Give me a Dirt Late Model any day and I will see a show reguardless. I think I’m the only one who liked Texas because it was almost caution free and you had to chase down the leader to pass him or he made a mistake. Not a caution to load up the field again.
    Yes lighten up on rules and let adjustments be made and bring back some creative adjustments like our friend Chad, at least he will give it a shot!!!

  10. Chris Fiegler Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I would get rid of the Top 35 in Points Rule & Have everybody Qualify on Speed & Time The Slowest Car Including the Defending Champion Goes Home.

  11. Chris Fiegler Says:
    April 17th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I will bet that Kansas will be a Better Race than Texas.

  12. jerseygirl Says:
    April 18th, 2012 at 9:20 am

    yep, the IROC series wasn’t that popular, so NASCAR decided it should impose those rules on its top level series. The result, boredom on the track and disinterest from many fans.

    Why bother to buy a ticket or spend an entire day watching the race? At least at home, I can do chores to alleviate my boredom or take a nap, both of which are more cost effective and productive than traveling to the track.