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Is NASCAR's new spoiler already upsetting the balance of power in Sprint Cup Series? There have been six races since NASCAR switched from the rear wing to a spoiler on its Sprint Cup car and it certainly looks as if the change has made a huge impact on the series.
Kurt Busch certainly thinks so. All you have to do, he says, is look at who’s running good now and who’s not.
“I think it's made a significant change in the sport, and some teams have adapted to it better than others,” says Busch, who finished third last week at Darlington Raceway.
“There could be different drivers within the same organization that have done better or worse with it. Jeff Gordon has really flourished with the new spoiler, where Mark Martin has struggled a little bit.
“So I find it interesting on how it's balancing the car different, whether it's front downforce, rear downforce, driving styles, and so we're starting to see what the spoiler's change is doing. “Is the 48 car [Jimmie Johnson] just having bad luck right now, or has it really changed the game that much for them?”
Sprint Cup teams raced with the new spoiler for the first time March 29 at Martinsville Speedway.
Johnson, the four-time champion who won three of the first five races this season, struggled to an uncharacteristic ninth-place finish at Martinsville, and then finished third and second, respectively, in the next two races at Phoenix and Texas. Since then, he has finished 31st, 10th and 36th.
Though he was involved in wrecks in two of those races, he was clearly struggling in both races before wrecking.
Meanwhile, the drivers on the move are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton and Johnson’s Hendrick teammate Gordon. Hamlin has won three of the past six races, including last week’s Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington. Harvick won at Talladega while Kyle Busch won at Richmond.
Burton and Gordon haven’t won yet this year, but both have dominated portions of the past three races, only to see chances to win slip away. Both were in position to win last week at Darlington before late-race mistakes derailed them.
Johnson acknowledged last week that his team is struggling a bit, but said it is experimenting on some new things that might help later in the season. More at SceneDaily.com
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