Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nascar is clueless

They just cannot seem to finish one of these races with out a problem.

Two times this year cars have cartwheeled into the catch fence so they raise the fence by 8 feet. Surely they doubled the fence webbing in general ? Nascar has lost sight of the basic fundamentals of what is really is happening on the race track.

There is no doubt that safety for fans and drivers should be a priority and for the most part that has been accomplished. What is not being focused on is the affect that the restrictor plate has on racing at Daytona and Talladega.The bottom line is that the cars are still going too fast. Turn anything backwards or sideways at 195 mph and there is going to be a problem. Put 30 cars together in a pack and the problem is multiplied. This is the key.

Nascar had to slow the cars after Bobby Allison ripped down the fence at Talladega in 1987 as they were running laps in excess of 205 mph hence the restrictor was instituted for the 1988 season. That worked out well as Richard Petty barrel rolled Daytona's front stretch fence in the season opener.

A couple of things to consider is that Nascar dropped the weight of the Cup cars by 200 lbs several years ago at the request of teams and drivers.. Secondly with the plate sapping several hundred horsepower from engines it has glued the cars together on the race track. Another point is that aero has taken presedence over mechanical grip. Aero is everything to a Cup car now and has been for several years. The tires just do not get a break as teams search for the perfect aero/mechanical set up.

Nascar's answer is to have a larger wheel/tire combination to make these cars drive better. This is not necessary at all. Put the 200 lbs back into the cars and replace the plate with either a smaller carbuerator and or a smaller cubic inch engine.

During the mid 70's the cars were running at about 180 to 185 mph during race conditions with no real issues to speak of. Now the cars are still approaching 200 mph during a race at Talladega.

Privately Nascar maybe concerned about an underdog busting a move with lower powered cars but this will not happen as the best will still win regardless if the circumstances.

What has happened is that no longer are teams able to work on set ups and driving technique looking for mechanical grip. Now they are forced into a box that limits what can be done to the car mechanically and the driver no longer can use his expertise to get the job done. This aero affect comes into play at all superspeedways.

Nascar has transformed the sport into an AERO sport and the styling of the cars easily reflect that. This is not what Stock Car Racing is supposed to be.

Maybe soon the light bulb will go off in Daytona Beach before it is forced to.


  1. Great insights, Rick. It would be so easy, and cheap, for NASCAR to correct the problems with the plate cars. Why can't they see this?

    Do they think that controversy sells tickets and improves matter how dangerous it is for their biggest assets.... the drivers.

  2. I have often thought why didn't NASCAR just go to a smaller engine for the track plates. Take the plates off of the cars and let them go.

    If they had a smaller engine and make the teams stick to a certain amount of horsepower in these engines. If they go over that horsepower range, the engine cannot be run.

    This would put the racing back into the hands of the drivers and take it out of the hands of NASCAR.

    Great Points in your blog.