So NASCAR has unveiled a new Sprint Cup Car. To clarify, I mean an all-new car. The chassis dimensions have changed, making every roll cage built between 2007 and 2012 obsolete. The great irony is that the COT was intended to save owners money, but it does not help if the rule book is to be rewritten every five years. This happens after the previous formula lasts 26 years.
Remember when the COT debuted and the bigger dimensions were praised for protecting the drivers with bigger crumple zones? Some of the big crumple zones are gone now. The car needs to be sleek and sexy looking, so the roof was lowered placing the driver in greater peril during a rollover. Those are the hyperbolic headlines NASCAR would sooner suppress. The new roll cage actually includes a new vertical support running between the center of the halo bar and the right-side frame rail. I believe this new bar is being termed the "Newman bar." A redundant halo bar has also been added. The link below will take you to a picture with a red arrow pointing to the Newman bar and yellow arrows pointing to the halo bars. I have no idea if BBcode or HTML work on this website.
So what made taller better in 2007? The quick answer is "shortsightedness." The longer answer starts with the Truck Series. When the trucks arrived at Daytona in 2000, everyone attributed great racing (at a time when restrictor plate tracks were universally loathed) to the trucks extreme aerodynamic drag coupled with high-horsepower engines. Giving the cars more drag seemed like it would solve the restrictor plate dilemma forever, but what is good for the goose is bad for the gander. More specifically, the drag that is good for Daytona makes for a bad aero-push at Charlotte.
NASCAR appears prepared to finally put the kibosh on dog-tracking. The rear axle must now be perpendicular to the centerline of the car. I hope there's also a rule requiring the driveshaft be parallel to the centerline or that may defeat the purpose of the rule.
Speaking of rear axles, the maximum amount of rear camber has doubled from ±2° on each side to ±4°. Since they're still using live axles, the camber on either side is equal to the opposite side times negative one (unless someone has managed to build axle housings where the hubs are not 180° apart). With the weight of each car being reduced by 100 pounds (45.4545 kilograms), there is a clear intention of improving mechanical grip. Whatever happened to those bigger tires we were promised in 2009?
Between the lifelike bodies, Lexan shark fin, fuel injection, and end of the Top-35 rule, it appears NASCAR has actually begun to implement some of the ideas I've been asking for/complaining about over the last 5 years. This doesn't mean I'm done complaining. There are still issues of driver safety, overhead camshafts, and the Chase for me to tackle.
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