Thursday, December 12, 2013

NASCAR And 2014 Racing Packages

NASCAR ran a much-anticipated aerodynamics test at Charlotte this week, testing varied items to try and open up passing on intermediate tracks.   It is a follow-up to a similar test in October, and in that test a larger spoiler seemed to work best toward allowing more effort at passing and closing up on lead cars

Said Gene Stefanshyn of NASCAR, "We accomplished out goal today."  He also acknowledged the differing opinions between what computer data says, what the eye test says, and so forth - "You're kind of looking for the 70 percent answer."

Perhaps NASCAR accomplished its immediate goal in this Charlotte test, but it remains unknown what package will develop from here, and from reading Dustin Long's analysis of the test, this December test curiously seemed less productive in terms of developing passing than the October test.   The use of carb spacers reduced horsepower to the 750 range, which is still very high - at least somewhat absurdly high, really.   One wonders why power wasn't dropped to 600 or lower for this test.

That NASCAR has been conducting these tests is certainly commendable, and the sport needs a package that opens up passing.   What was witnessed with the Trucks in April and the Busch Series cars in October, both at Kansas Speedway, was what the sport can have and also what it can improve - there was some excellent nose to nose combat for the lead in both races, some of the best of the NASCAR season.

I've long said - the draft has to be more important than handling; that is the lesson of the best racing in the sport's history, from the 1960s and 1970s forward - be in restrictor plate racing, the two Truck/Busch Series Kansas races from 2013 noted above, the "crapwagon" IRL era, the Hanford Wing era of Indycar, the Trucks at Pocono and also in 2013 at Homestead, and the 2013 Indianapolis 500 plus the finish of the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race, the racing where the draft means a lot and handling means nothing is the racing that produces the most passing.  

These tests seem to be confirming this again.

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