I'm going to put it on the line. My prediction: The Car of TOmorrow race at Talladega in the fall will be better than this weekend's race at Talladega.
Why? The Car of Tomorrow seems the be designed to enhance everything you need for a good restrictor plate race. Combined with the Talladega repaving, we're going to see something spectacular. If you're any sort of fan, you remember the last race at Dega, where Vickers hit his team mate and spun him out. This incident overshadowed the other stories of the weekend. The new repaving of Talladega made the already super-fast speedway even faster. The Bumps and roughness in the track have been eliminated. This allows cars to run softer springs without bottoming out, and increase maneuverability. The new pavement also increased grip. The freight train of cars continually ran right up against the 200 MPH barrier.
The Car of Tomorrow brings a few new improvements. For one, the cars are blockier. They are fucking bricks. At certain angles, they look almost exactly like the trucks. Have you ever seen a restrictor plate truck race? They slingshot around like in the old days. The huge cars will punch wide holes in the air, allowing for better drafting and cars will close up very quickly on each other. They are also wider, which again contributes to the bigger hole they will have for other cars to draft with. NASCAR tempered the trucks and their incredible closing rates by restricting them even further. But if you remember the first Truck race at Daytona -- well, we can expect something along those lines.
The Car of Tommorrow has a rear bumper that has been lowered to the height of the nose on the other cars. Bump drafting will be far more stable, as the chances of the bumping car lifting the rear wheels of the bumped car off the ground will be far less. This may lead to some moves we've never seen before.
The front splitter will mess up air more. The wing also will again probably contribute to the draft. But the Wing has another feature - one not seen since the 1970's in NASCAR. The old Dodge Daytona's - those cars with the ridiculously huge wing on the rear were particularly good at the big tracks liek Talladega because the wide force the fins provided. If you watch clips from the last race, the up and down motion had been eliminated, but they were still drifting around from side to side in the draft. The verticle sidewings on the back will stabilize this motion and allow for even better handling in the draft.
It is possible that the cars will handle "perfectly." They will be just as fast, but with bigger drafting abilities and more sideways stability. Combined with the sidewings, I think all that control and stability may lead us to seeing someone try something never before seen on these tracks - A bump draft in the tri-oval, or even the corners.
Either way. This weekend's race with the Car of Today will be good. But the race in the fall will be far better.