NASCAR is giving the drivers what they are asking for. They wanted more ability to pass, and drive, and put more of the driver back into the sport, and not make it just about having a good car. At Kentucky, in less than a month, the new rules package will get it’s first true test of what it could possibly deliver to the competition.
But in reality, what will it prove?
One big aspect to this package is what Goodyear is going to do as part of it. The softer tire that could come with the changes will mean a lot of give up in time, and handling, making the drivers make changes to how they drive on-track before the next pit stop. But, when Kentucky comes on the schedule, that idea of a softer tire will not happen. The compound being used has already been decided, and is ready to be shipped out.
How exactly can one learn about the tires when the compound being used is already in the works, and because of time between now and the actual race is so short, there isn’t enough of it to make a change.
So what drivers will get is a car with less downforce, making it harder to drive, and a tire that could possibly slide all over the track instead of gripping the surface. It’s counter productive.
What drivers are getting initially will not be the entire package they feel will provide the best racing. Sure, the idea of less downforce on the back will do exactly what is expected. Lower corner speeds will make for harder handling, and make for more passing, which in the end is what the drivers felt was the problem with the current package.
Reducing the horsepower with the tapered spacer did not help this package, but could be made invisible with the new rules. Darrell Waltrip pointed out on FOX Sports online that drivers want more horsepower. The new rules will still have the spacer on the engines, but the smaller spoiler could make it seem as though the cars had the old horsepower ratings. More power, or the feeling of more power, will make for better racing.
But, it could make for a challenge at the same times. Drivers wanted the change, now at the least they can test it to see if it works.
It certainly is not the first time a design of the car has changed. The Gen-4 car that ran from the mid-90’s through the end of the 2007 season saw changes in the spoiler height, width, and design over the years. It was tall, short, and even for certain races had a small wicker bill at the top. The last time the Cup cars saw a mid-season change to the cars was in 2010, and it was big because the “car of tomorrow” went back to the classic spoiler on the decklid instead of the bulky, and often criticized, wing with the side plates.
This change is along the same lines, because in the end it is all about putting forth a better performance amongst the competitors and a better show for the fans.
In the back of everyone’s mind, every driver knows that there could be the possibility that the new package could backfire when all the teams are on the track at the same time. However, no one is going into this race thinking it will not produce good racing. No one wants to go into something new that hasn’t been testing thinking it will not work. Everyone that pilots one of these cars is thinking the product that will be seen on track will be better.
Let’s hope they are right.