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Spoilers Produce ‘Some Change’ In Test

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 23 2010

Spoilers paid a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday. They will return on Wednesday and they will be raced at Martinsville on Sunday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

It doesn’t appear that the big questions surrounding the replacing of wings with spoilers on Sprint Cup cars will be answered until the series hits the tracks for real racing in coming weeks.

So said drivers and crew chiefs after the first day of a two-day test of the spoiler-bedecked cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday.

About 50 cars took place in the much-anticipated test. Most will be back on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, drivers were asked the big questions – questions which involve the quality of racing once the switch to spoilers is made.

The answers seemed to be that even though the blades will be in place this coming weekend for the race at the Martinsville short track, it will not be until the week after at the 1.5-mile quadoval of Texas Motor Speedway that teams, drivers and NASCAR will know for sure if better competition is in the offing.

Kevin Harvick said, “I still think that the biggest question mark is still going to be when you drop the green flag at Texas and how they race around each other and there’s really no way to tell until we get to that point.”

There was very little prolonged racing in big packs on Tuesday.

David Reutimann was asked if he was hoping there would be more drafting in Wednesday’s portion of the test.

“It would be nice to at least have a general idea.” he said. “You don’t ever know if you can coordinate that because everyone is on their own agenda. Ideally, that would probably be the best way to really find out other than just showing up at a race track and seeing what we’re going to get, which is our only other alternative I guess.”

Kyle Busch was asked if he could feel much change in the way his car handled with the spoiler.

“Not a whole lot of difference, but definitely some change,” Busch said. “Whether it’s change for the good or the bad yet, we don’t know until we get into a pack of a race. Initial thoughts are that it adds a lot of grip to the car, makes the cars comfortable to drive, but to me it might make it harder in traffic.”

Ryan Newman said, “It is hard to tell because the track was really green to start but the car feels like it is pretty positive on the nose. We might have a little rear down force but I don’t know exactly. It drives fine. No issues.”

Harvick said he was glad that there was no huge change in the way the Cup cars handled with spoilers.

“For me personally,” he said, “it was good to know and put out of my mind that the spoiler was going to be a drastic difference in the way that the car drove. That is not the case. The car has a lot of grip with the tire combination and the spoiler so it drives really good. We went right to work on the things that we needed to because we felt comfortable with the car. I think that’s been good and everything has gone well so far.”

One thing everybody does seem to know about the spoiler is that the cars look a lot better with them than with the wings.

“Well, I think the car looks a tremendous amount better,” Harvick said. “It looks more like you’d expect a car to look in NASCAR racing I guess you could say. That’s what our sport has been built around and what our fans are used to looking at. So, I think we have a good timeline as to when the spoiler is getting put on. The look of it is better. I think there are a lot of things in the process to make more changes on the car as we go forward in the next year or two.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 23 2010
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