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?
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