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NASCAR to tweak front splitter
The Sprint Cup car is about to lose its braces. Beginning with the 2011 season, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said a new front valance and splitter combination should eliminate the need for the braces that hold the splitter in place under the current design.

"It will be less utilitarian-looking," Pemberton said. "It'll have a little more style in it, and I think people will like that. As we work forward, that's not the last change. We're looking on some stuff that actually has to coincide with the manufacturers and their introduction of new cars to sell."

Pemberton said the current design, introduced in 2007, is due for an upgrade. And with the implementation of the new Nationwide Series chassis this season, NASCAR's research and development team went to work on trying to add some pizzazz -- and manufacturer identity -- to the Cup cars.

"There's always a cycle that you go through and you look for changes," Pemberton said. "We've been pretty occupied in the last two years in getting the new Nationwide car up and running. So everybody's been working on that, knowing that right on the heels of that, we'd be looking at upgrades and upfits to the Sprint Cup Series car."

Replacing the unpopular rear wing with the spoiler was the first step, according to Pemberton.

"We did the spoiler this year, and next year, we'll do the front valance and splitter area, which is from mid-bumper down," Pemberton said. "It's a styling change. It'll give the manufacturers an opportunity to work on getting some subtle changes to the identity there. It's just time for an upfit there."

So what will the new front bumper look like? According to Pemberton, it'll incorporate a lot of the Nationwide design.

"It'll look more similar to that than the way it does today," Pemberton said. "[It incorporates] the things that we've learned in the last two or three years of how to keep things a level playing field for the competitors and the things we've learned in the wind tunnel about trying to keep the balance of the car, front to rear."

That could mean more changes to make the current generic chassis a little more manufacturer-specific, Pemberton said, perhaps as early as 2012 or '13.

"It depends on what people call a full redesign," Pemberton said. "There are things that you are limited to, but we are looking at some changes. Once again, it has to go hand-in-hand with manufacturers' needs. But I will say this: The things that we have learned over the last 24 months, with working on the Nationwide car, will really allow us to put some more detail and manufacturer identity in it." Scenedaily.com

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