Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

September 26, 2007

NASCAR: Car of Tomorrow? Or Yesterday?

I really had high hopes for the Car of Tomorrow. It made sense that if the cars were more or less identical, that would put the driver back in the driver’s seat, as it were.

But it’s beginning to look like I was wrong.

About 7 or 8 years ago at a televised race at Nashville Speedway USA, I got to talk to Buddy Baker. I’d been mulling over an idea that I wanted to get his input on. What if all the cars in NASCAR were alike, just like the IROC Series? He didn’t think too much of the idea. If I remember right he said the well financed teams would find a way to tweak the cars so that pretty soon, despite being the “same”, they’d have the advantage back.

I guess he was right.

Dover’s race Sunday was the latest chapter in the Car of Tomorrow saga. Only six cars finished on the lead lap, and the margin of victory was over a half second. Now granted, the Dover races have always been some of the most boring races on the planet (I used to call them the 24 hours of Dover). They even reduced the races from 500 to 400 miles because they took so long. But I don’t remember the last time so few cars finished on the lead lap.

I’m still waiting to find out the definition of “the big one.” In my mind, any wreck that involves nearly 25% of the field qualifies as a big one, but yet you only hear complaints about big wrecks at the restrictor plate races.

Carl Edwards “won” the race, but his car was impounded after the race to be taken to NASCAR for further evaluation due to the right rear being too low. Now maybe there’s a problem with the Car of Tomorrow, since this happened to two cars at New Hampshire. If that’s the case, then NASCAR needs to make it right with the two cars that were penalized then. But if not, then why should Edwards get credit for a win?

Earlier this year I was in favor of all the races next year being COT races, but now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Of course, it’s too late to go back to NASCAR’s original plan to run a partial schedule with the cars of tomorrow next year. However, it certainly looks like more R&D needs to be done on the cars.

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