Monday, April 02, 2007

What we Learned About The Car of Tommorow.. Er.. Tomorrow

If there is one thing I have learned from this whole Car of Tommorrow deal, it's that I'm really bad at spelling "car of tomorow." And apparently, so is everyone who finds this blog by search engine.

So we've seen the COT in action on short tracks. The aero stuff didn't come into play, except at Bristol where the splitter kept cutting down right rear/left tires whenever cars made contact. Look for them to revise that little kickout before they hit the superspeedways where that sort of thing could cause real harm.

We also learned that Mike Joy has an endless list of random objects "you could stick four wheels on and Tony Stewart could win with it" ranging from cinderblocks to roaches.

We learned about hexes and some poor bastard named Waterman, whose cable driven fuel pump system isn't designed to work in something as long as a stock car. That's really just unfortunate timing - more to do with Chevy's development of a new engine with a safer fuel system (less likely to pump fuel onto a raging engine fire after a wreck than the current system) rather than the COT.

We learned if you need axtra downforce, back your car into the wall to raise the wing up. I know NASCAR is trying to save costs, but it strikes me as a pretty useless move to stick a wing on a racecar if you're not going to let teams adjust it.

We learned delicate splitter braces are somewhat unecessary, and NASCAR won't black flag you when they snap. We also learned that the splitter is like a big scoop that will clog the air intake on cars, causing problems on brake-intensive short tracks. But you can't add more brake coolers to prevent a catastrophic failure as you barrel down into turn one. But remember, NASCAR is all about safety now.

We learned protective foam is flammable and nobody thought to put a heat shield between it and the hottest part of the car (the exhaust.) DW learned never to take NASCAR at its word when it says something is "not possible." Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart learned they might lose the championship as a result of NASCAR's playing around.

Going back to the wing, we learned people don't like it. And of course they don't - the cars look dorky with the damn thing on there. Not because racecars shouldn't have a wing - anywhere other than the bizarre world of NASCAR a spoiler is the odd thing to have on a performance car and a wing is the way to go. No, the problem is NASCAR seems to demand that the wing be Black, thus sticking out like a sore thumb on every car with a non-black paint scheme and drawing attention to the fact that "this feature is new and doesn't belong." For fuck's sake, let the teams paint the wings to match their cars and I guarantee half the complaints will evaporate within a race or two. Especially once more teams start using the wing space as sponsor-space like in Formula 1 or Indy.

That's about it. The jury is still out and the design still needs some tweaking, but we have had two rather good finishes with last-lap duels to the finish line - so the car can obviously put on a show. And in the modern world of NASCAR - that's all that matters.

Oh, and I finally realized what the side-view of the Car of Tommorrow reminded me of:

No comments: