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Woody: End Of The Wing Fling

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 24 2010

A.J. Allmendinger takes his spoiler out for a ride during Tuesday's test in Charlotte. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

When I heard that NASCAR plans to clip Jimmie Johnson’s wings this week at Martinsville, I thought, “About time.”

Maybe the rest of the field will have a chance.

But it turns out that everybody else’s wings are getting clipped, too.

NASCAR has decided to do away with the wing on the back of its cars and return to the old-fashioned blade spoiler that had been a stock car fixture for many years.

I think it’s a good idea because it makes the cars look less exotic and more “stock.”

Exotic is OK for dancers and wings are fine on chickens, but neither go with stock cars.

Other than appearance, I don’t know what the difference is between a wing and a spoiler. I couldn’t tell you the aerodynamic pros and cons of either. Then again, I couldn’t tell you how a TV remote control can change channels, but it can.

I have faith that the scientists who labor in NASCAR’s Secret Underground Laboratory know what they’re doing.

(On the other hand, they said they knew what they were doing when they decided to put on the wing in the first place.)

As I understood it, NASCAR thought that the wings would somehow make for better racing. I couldn’t tell that the Wing Era brought much improvement. We saw just as much cruise-control “racing” with the wing as we saw with the spoiler, with the same old faces generally out front.

I assume that whatever NASCAR hoped would happen didn’t happen, so now its going back to the spoiler.

It’s already working: At least the press has something to write about this week other than AAJV (Another Awesome Jimmie Victory.)

Personally I’d like to see NASCAR go even further and make the cars that race on Sunday look more like the ones we drive to work on Monday. Wasn’t that the whole point when Bill France Sr. called it a “stock car” racing association?

Gradually over the years the sport lost its way, technologically speaking. I’m told that the only thing “stock” on a stock car nowadays is the rear deck lid. And good luck finding a spare tire and set of jumper cables inside.

I’m in favor of keeping the roll cage and other safety devices, knocking out the glass, and going stock the rest of the way. Fire the rocket scientists and hire some old boys from Bubba’s Full Service & Clean Restrooms to build the cars, like they did in the old days.

Once upon a time in racing if a driver wrecked his car he had to walk home. His race car was also his passenger car.

Taking that silly George Jetson space wing off the rear deck won’t bring back those rollicking days of yesteryear, but every little bit helps. At least it’ll LOOK more like we’re watching a stock car race.

Now if they’ll require Jimmie Johnson to drag an anchor behind him …

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, March 24 2010
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