One of the most intriguing stories that I’ve seen over the last few days is the possibility that NASCAR will remove the infamous wings from Sprint Cup cars as soon as this year. Possibly, the spoilers could be back, but it is unknown whether this will only be for certain races or if the sanctioning body will remove the wings altogether in the future.
Personally, I find this news to be encouraging, and I believe that most of the drivers and teams would much rather deal with spoilers than wings on the rear of their race cars. In the preseason promotion at Daytona International Speedway televised by SPEED TV yesterday, several drivers, when asked, seemed to be whole heartedly in favor of the return to spoilers. Some of the drivers questioned included Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Many, if not most of the Cup teams have had a difficult time getting a handle on setting up the handling for the winged cars since their introduction at the beginning of the 2008 season. Personally, I’ve felt that the wings have been a hindrance to NASCAR’s never ending quest for safety, not only for the drivers, but also the fans.
We all remember the scary rides that Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman took at Talladega last year. In Newman’s case, his car did not hit the catch fence, but had his car flipped upside down closer to the wall, it would have been easy for his car to have landed high up on the fence. In Carl Edward’s case, his car did disintegrate when it hit the fence, and though the fence kept most of the car out of the crowd, at least one fan was badly injured by pieces of flying sheet metal.
Cars landing in the fence are nothing new at Talladega or Daytona. One has to wonder, however, if the wing, which provides such tremendous down force on a car moving in a forward direction, does not also provide a tremendous amount of lift when the car is going backwards? Keeping the cars out of the grandstands has to be NASCAR’s primary concern at any track, and it seems to me that the wing is clearly counterproductive to that goal.
The word being circulated by those in the know about NASCAR’s consideration of bringing back the spoilers has been centered mostly on the competitive advantages rather than possible safety gains. Which ever way you look at it, bringing back the spoiler will be in NASCAR’s best interests to provide a better product for its fans in 2010 and beyond.
Besides, I’ve always thought those wings look rather silly, and as petty as that opinion sounds, it’s also part of what has to be the ultimate goal for NASCAR, which is of course producing happy fans who feel they’ve gotten their moneys worth. To me, the COT, as it was known, was ungainly compared to the pre COT car, which I consider a thing of beauty, if not a true work of art. I own several die cast models of pre COT cars, but I’ve not really been motivated to spend money on any COT replicas, mostly because they just don’t have the eye appeal that many of their ancestors had. Putting a spoiler back on the new car will make it look better, at least in my opinion. Spending money on merchandise is a tradition for NASCAR loyalists, and has helped the sport explode in popularity over the last fifteen or twenty years.