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More changes coming to the COT?
The Sprint Cup car rear-deck wing, that much-hated piece of the race vehicle originally introduced as the Car of Tomorrow, will make one more run in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. When teams reassemble next weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the cars will be fitted with the traditional metal spoilers that sat on the back of NASCAR racers for decades before the COT ushered in the wing. The reappearance of the spoiler probably won't be the only significant and maybe not the most significant change in car body armor this season as NASCAR has ramped up its campaign against flying cars in the wake of Brad Keselowski's wild ride two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ongoing tests are directed at preventing cars from becoming airborne when they turn sideways or backward. Keselowski's flight at Atlanta caused particular concern among NASCAR officials because such problems are relatively rare at 1.5-mile tracks (although Atlanta speeds are seriously fast despite the track size). Pppppppp The switch next week from wing to spoiler is likely to have no measurable effect on holding cars on the ground. Wind tunnel tests and study of videotapes of airborne crashes indicate that the major cause of cars taking flight is the rush of air underneath the car, not the rear-deck wing. Among the solutions, according to long-time Ford Racing engineer Bernie Marcus, an aerodynamic specialist, might be slots in the rear area of the car so that, in an accident, air would have places to escape. "We tested last week in another liftoff test as a result of what happened in Atlanta," Marcus said Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Pppppppp "They're really reacting to it in a very fast way and a proactive way. They're looking at what we can do to prevent this from happening again. There are more things in the pipeline, and they probably will be introduced at some point. We're looking at options to somehow get rid of the air that goes under the car." Part of the problem in studying solutions, Marcus said, is that every accident is different. He said part of the problem in the Keselowski incident in Atlanta was that a section in the rear of the car had been damaged in a previous accident, allowing more air to collect in that part of the car when it turned. Pppppppp "That's the biggest challenge NASCAR faces with all these safety things," he said. "Every spinout is different because there are different angles involved." He said a third roof flap has been tested but that there isn't enough room on the roof of the cars to make that possibility workable. Pppppppp "All this is an ongoing thing," Marcus said. "In the past, NASCAR would react to accidents. Now they want to be more proactive. They have us involved a little more in looking further ahead. But every time you have an accident at a big track, cars can fly. That's just a simple fact of physics." SPEED Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
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