THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MARCH 9.
The Generation Six racecar continues to generate controversy as NASCAR's heavy-handed punishments of Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski for speaking out continue to generate debate amid the car's poor competition performance and burgeoning support for Hamlin.
Largely lost amid the controversy is another story circulating under the radar that may be a major change in the sport - the striking level of cooperation between manufacturers in the sport.
It's a major change given the bitterness that permeated manufacturer rivalries in the past. If it is real, it can help the sport in multiple ways. Right now, though, the Gen-6 car is not producing what was promised of it, and the talking point of "give it time" sounds as Mike Mulhern puts it - "'come back next year and we'll have it all sorted out for you.'"
"That is unacceptable," as Mulhern succinctly puts it, and it is given the project began in mid-2010 but which was obviously working where no one seemed to know what they were doing. Testing showed almost right away the car was not going to make anything better - one of the most notable changes was at the splitter; it was advocated that removing the splitter would help alleviate aeropush; when NASCAR did just that for tests at Texas and Kansas, the change produced failure.
The story of the Gen-6 racecar is evolving into one of the more graphic fiascos in recent NASCAR history and a further indictment of the sanction body's leadership from Brian France to John Darby.
UPDATE: Hamlin chose not to appeal NASCAR's fine, but the fine has left a sullen atmosphere in the garage area which brought about this thoughtful piece by Nate Ryan about NASCAR's inability to lead.