by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.January 27, 2010 12:56 pm UTC 3 Comments
The winds of change may finally be blowing NASCAR fans way.
NASCAR fans eagerly await the start of any new race season. But 2010 may hold the imagination of what might be, more than any season in recent memory. NASCAR has told drivers to be more aggressive on the race track and to return to more days of yore where a little contact and controversy were the more prevelant.
Will NASCAR continue to court the winds of change throughtout the season even if the going gets tough? It is easy for the powers that be to give lip service to the new (old) way of settling the score, but will they back off as soon as one of its elite drivers suffers from the ignominy of defeat? 2009 was to be the year that drivers were allowed to speak their minds, but that ended quickly when NASCAR dubbed those drivers as being negative.
NASCAR has set in motion the change over from the often lamented wing to the retro spoiler. If the new (old) spoiler can give the car back to the drivers and let them race then it will have done its job. If its return is only to satisfy the request to beautify the car and the actual on track product doesn’t improve then it will be time and money wasted.
NASCAR’s Managing Director of it’s R&D facility, Mike Fisher, was ON PIT ROW this week talking about the changes that are in the future of the sport. Two topics of conversation revolved around fuel injection and alternate fuel use. Fuel injection seems to be on the fast track for 2011 with the R&D Center working on its particulars. One of which would have to be how to police its usage and its misuse.
The one thing that the carburetor has had going for itself has been its inherent simplicity. It is easy for NASCAR to regulate; whether because of its simple design or its longevity. Fuel injection opens up a new field for innovators to have their way with the system while NASCAR tries to stay a step ahead.
Alternate fuels; while righteous in its attempt to “green” up the sport would seem to be less of a priority for the NASCAR world. The American public is not clamoring for a switch to alternatives for gasoline and until that happens NASCAR will not lead the way.
When asked if there would be any significant changes to the Cup car in the next five years, Fisher said with the changes to the COT and the new Nationwide COT, he didn’t foresee any large change in the near future. You can hear the entire interview with Fisher at www.onpitrow.com
If the return to the spoiler and the new rough, tough driving style are a way to appease fans then why not go the next step and make the cars more remenicent of the street cars they are supposed to represent? Let the controversy about which make has the advantage resurface. Let team owners decide what make of car to run by its advantages of power and design. Stories abound from the Sixties and Seventies about car owners that switched from one brand to another because of its more raceable configurations.
If NASCAR truly wants to give the sport back to its competitors and its fans then give the builders a chance to build and innovate.
photo credit: Ford Racing