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Cup Notes: Better Racing Ahead

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 4 2010
Ryan Newman, Sprint Cup's engineer/driver, said the switch to spoilers could make things exciting at big tracks. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Newman, Sprint Cup's engineer/driver, said the switch to spoilers could make things exciting at big tracks. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Newman, the race driver with the engineering degree, said that going back to the rear spoiler instead of a wing will facilitate side drafting, and that will lead to much better racing on the bigger, faster tracks.

“This is speculation from my standpoint (but) the way the spoiler is designed, there’s going to be a lot more surface area of that spoiler on the quarter panels,” he said. “I think the side drafting on the straightaway is going to be even bigger than it was with the old style car. I don’t think we have but 50 percent of that side drafting down the straightaway on the current car with the wing on it.”

Newman said the change will be easy for fans to see once it’s implemented. They’ll just need to watch one driver try to put his right-front fender as close as possible to the left-front fender of the car he wants to side draft.

And the overall product will be substantially better too, he said.

“I think the fans will see more racing, even on the straightaways, if that makes sense,” Newman said. “You’ll see more side-by-side, back and forth, nose-to-head, with the competitor down the straightaways, which I think will make places like Michigan and California, some of the tracks that are bigger, notorious for being a little boring through the middle of the race more exciting throughout the entire race.”

He said the problem for drivers will avoiding those that aren’t good side drafters.

“It’s more important to know who you’re dealing with and who you’re working with or who’s working against you than it is to actually know the (side-drafting) maneuver itself,” he said.

Pioneer To Be Honored: Vehicles competing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway will carry special decals honoring one of the sport’s African-American pioneers, but ironically not the one from Atlanta who initially broke NASCAR’s color barrier.

The decals will mark the anniversary of the first Cup start for the late Wendell Scott.

Scott made his first start in the circuit now known as Sprint Cup on March 4, 1961, at Spartanburg, S.C. On Dec. 1, 1963, in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first and only African-American to win a Cup race.

Scott’s daughter Sybil Scott is expected to attend the race along with NASCAR Drive for Diversity competitor Jason Romero, winner of last year’s Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award, which is given each year to a female or minority driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series who personifies excellence on and off the race track.

While Wendell Scott is being honored in Atlanta, another African-American NASCAR pioneer, from the Atlanta suburb of College Park, likely will be largely ignored.

It was the late Charlie Scott, no relation to Wendell, who broke NASCAR’s color barrier. He drove a Carl Kiekhaefer Chrysler on the beach at Daytona on Feb. 26, 1956. He qualified 14th and finished 19th in a race won by his teammate and fellow Atlantan Tim Flock. He did beat another Kiekhaefer Chrysler, the one driven by Buck Baker, who was 20th that day.

Charlie Scott was a friend of Wendell Scott and often assisted him and his family when they raced in Atlanta.

Charlie Scott was a member of the Atlanta Stock Car Club, an all-black racing series that thrived around the Southeast in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After his stock car career ended, Scott went on to become a pioneering drag racer.

Townley, NASCAR meet: Georgia racer John Wes Townley will face no punishment from NASCAR after being charged with underage possession of alcohol last week at Las Vegas, where he raced in the Nationwide Series.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston told RacinToday that officials met with Townley, and added that Townley’s Richard Childress Racing team will handle the matter internally.

Poston wrote that there would be “no further action on our end.”

– Rick Minter can be reached at rminter@racintoday.com

Rick Minter | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 4 2010
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  • [...] NASCAR team in 1955. … Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website …Racin' Today Cup Notes: Better Racing AheadHe drove a Carl Kiekhaefer Chrysler on the beach at Daytona on Feb. 26, 1956. … He did beat [...]