Friday, March 19, 2010

Spoiling the Surprise: Rear Spoiler back on NASCAR Sprint Cup cars after Bristol

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

For NASCAR fans who loathed the look of the Sprint Cup series' Car of Tomorrow platform, prepare to rejoice after this weekend's Food City 500 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR confirmed in a statement on Thursday that a rear spoiler will permanently replace the infamous rear wing. Rear downforce will once again be doubt with by a spoiler blade starting at the Martinsville Speedway next week.

When the Car of Tomorrow was in development, a spoiler was in consideration as an option but NASCAR selected the rear wing. NASCAR stated at that time the rear wing was chosen for its easier adjustably and was said to provide better control in traffic. It was believed that the wing on the deck lid would reduce the amount of turbulence acting on following cars causing a sensation called Aero-push. Besides functionality, it seemed NASCAR might have been trying to differentiate the new Sprint Cup car from the old car in effort to visually tout their engineering of this future race stock car.

However, as time went on, the Sprint Cup's new car was being seen as more of a competitive burden as the refined design made little-to-no difference in correcting Aero-push issues. On the fans' front, the out-of-place rear wing was seen as more of an attack against the purity of stock car racing. It came as a relieve to many earlier this year when NASCAR announced a phase-in plan to replace the wing with the spoiler.

With this weekend's Food City 500 serving as the last event for the rear wing, the chapter ends where it began three years ago. Coincidentally in 2007, Bristol Motor Speedway was the debut for the Sprint Cup series Car of Tomorrow platform.

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

With 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup series teams participating in a major spoiler test at Talladega Superspeedway this past week, NASCAR has also scheduled an upcoming two-day test for Sprint Cup teams at Charlotte Motor Speedway for March 23rd and 24th where additional work will be done to orientate drivers to the return of the spoiler.

Starting at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR officials, competitors and fans will discover if the rear wing was the reason for complaint or just a Car of Tomorrow scapegoat.

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