NASCAR has been looking at new technical rules to tweak the cars for 2014 NASCAR has been looking at new technical rules to tweak the cars for 2014.
A mid-December test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, yet another NASCAR test there, should help set things.
Some teams, however, think all this rules testing stuff is more for show than for go.
But if the new body stylings didn't light a fire under fans, after all the pre-season hype, and early season penalties, why should a few rules tweaks change the dynamic.
NASCAR is now expected to bring the 'tapered spacer' to the Cup series, to try to take 90 horsepower out of these 900 horsepower engines.
NASCAR has tested a roof 'wicker,' running left-to-right, designed to disturb the air; that design was used some 10 years ago, briefly, but it appears the sanctioning body is rejecting that change.
NASCAR will be using larger rear spoilers next season.
And NASCAR is expected to add some holes in the rear bumpers, to vent under-car air flow.
Count team owner Jack Roush among the skeptics:
"NASCAR continues to look for the utopian circumstance that takes every spectator's breath away every lap...
"It's an impossible thing they're looking for, to make the thing increasingly exciting. Because there is only so much you can do with four tires and a 3400-pound car.
“They're looking for something that I'm afraid will not have an impact on the racing but which will cost everyone a lot of money.
"If you look back 30 or 40 years ago, if you had four or five cars on the lead lap, you had a 'close' race. Now they've got all but a handful of cars on the lead lap, and they're still trying to make it more exciting than it is.
"We're pushing the limits of what you can do with the car. And they're just spending money.
"Whatever they do will be all right. But as seen by me, it won't have a dramatic effect on the excitement of the race.
"Races are exciting when you blow tires up; and Goodyear doesn't want you to blow tires up.
"Races are exciting when you run into each other.
"And racing is exciting when you pass. But if you get the cars to where they're all running at the same speed, you get what you saw at Talladega -- all lined up. And unless somebody trips or slips, you stay all lined up.
"And that's what you've got at the unrestricted tracks as well: the cars are so close aerodynamically and in horsepower that there is nothing that separates one from another.
"Now if someone comes up with an invention, or an interpretation of the rules that gives them an advantage, then you've got something that will help you pass cars and separate people.
"But right now they've got 'em all so close together that you've got racing that's got its own tempo....and it's not as exciting as NASCAR would have."
Maybe NASCAR could give bonus points for donuts....
Anything to shake things up.
Maybe the solution to these doldrums isn't all in hardware but perhaps in software -- like the software in a driver's head.
“I've talked to NASCAR about this -- if we all had a couple of mulligans the first 26 races, where you could throw away a bad finish, you would be more willing to put your nose in a place where you're not really sure how it will work out," Roush says.
"I would do two mulligans in the first 26 and one mulligan in the last 10. And until a guy uses that mulligan up, he can go race with abandon."
And that wouldn't cost nearly as much. MikeMulhern.net