Sunday, June 27, 2010

Introducing the New Nationwide Car at Daytona Very Cool, but a Very Stupid Idea

Next week, the Nationwide Series returns to Daytona, and we will see for the first time its overhauled car take to the track for an actual race. Fans will love this – we will see Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers flying around Daytona that actually look like Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers. The car is safer, but also bigger and badder.

On top of that, Daytona is NASCAR’s crown jewel, the end result of a dream by NASCAR founder and Hall-of-Famer Bill France Sr. Men like Petty, Pearson, Waltrip, and Earnhardt have all considered a Daytona trophy among their most prized possessions, despite the rest of their illustrious careers.

From a pure aesthetics standpoint, there is no better place to debut the awesome-looking new Nationwide car than under the lights at Daytona.

However, here’s the problem with Daytona: the pack racing. While the new Nationwide cars won’t use restrictor plates; they will have smaller tapered spacers, which function in the same way: limit air to the engine and reduce horsepower. Without the reduction in horsepower, the cars would easily reach speeds that surpass human abilities to drive them.

The restrictor plates and tapered spacers bring about pack racing, the phenomenon we see at Daytona and Talladega where a large group of cars drafts off each other three-wide (or deeper) for several rows back… imagine if your parking lot suddenly took off at 190mph down the highway.

This pack racing creates the big wreck; if someone at the front of the pack makes a mistake, it collects the rest of the pack with him. 20 or 30 car pile-ups are common in pack racing. Nearly every race at Daytona and Talladega is guaranteed at least one big wreck.

And this is why introducing the new car at Daytona is a bad idea. The Nationwide Series is home to some very low-budget teams, whose cars are discount hand-me-downs from bigger teams. Jay Robinson Racing, Bob Keselowski Racing, Morgan-Dollar Racing, and all the other similar small teams will struggle to get their hands on the new car because the big teams don’t have old ones to sell them yet. This means they will have to build their own or buy a new one, neither of which is cheap.

Because of these factors, the small teams may have one or two of the new cars in their fleet… and then they could go to Daytona and destroy it in the big wreck, sending them back to square one.

There is no better way to get TV time and other exposure for the Nationwide Series than by debuting the awesome new car at Daytona. But, if one driver in the front of the pack makes an incorrect split-second calculation, it could be devastating for the small teams characteristic of the Nationwide Series.


The Racing Tool is Back!

After a more than two month hiatus for personal reasons, the Racing Tool has returned. Once more, you will enjoy weekly commentary on the edge of NASCAR coverage. I hope you all enjoy it.

The Racing Tool is Going to Chicagoland

In two weeks, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series head to the midwest for a few great shows at the Chicagoland Speedway. Make sure to follow @racingtool on Twitter and Facebook for all the live updates as we are able.

New Feature: The Tool of the Week

No, not an actual tool, as in Craftsman or Kobalt. No, we're talking about a tool as in a person who does something incredibly... for lack of a better word... dumb. Perhaps a power saw removed his brain for the week, or a pair of pliers is cutting off blood flow to his frontal lobe. For whatever reason... said driver/crewman/official/random person will receive the negatively-esteemed award as "The Tool of the Week."

So, with no further adieu...

The Tool of the Week

Reed Sorenson.

He's probably wishing Red Bull gave him actual wings because I'm sure he couldn't flee NHMS fast enough following his incident with Juan Pablo Montoya. The lapped driver pushed into the lead-lap and competitive Montoya, spinning him out.

Now, not that Montoya could have won anyway... that's not why he's the Tool of the Week. The reason he gets the nomination is because he caused the second-to-last caution, ending Jeff Burton's chance at a win and essentially handing it to Jimmie Johnson, something no fan at NHMS wanted to see.

Burton had a huge lead, but was stuck on old tires when the entire field pitted behind him under caution. Had Burton indeed pitted, the rest of the field would have stayed out and put him deep in the pack with 15 to go. It was lose-lose for the Burton gang when Reed spun JP.

What a tool.

Do you have a better tool? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook.

-David Dubczak

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