Thursday, November 17, 2011

The NASCAR Aerodynamic and Fuel Injection Test at Daytona International Speedway

On November 15th, seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams rolled into Daytona International Speedway to do some testing in an effort to evaluate and prepare aerodynamic baseline packages for the January 12-14 2012 Pre Season Thunder Test. The teams that participated in the test were Hendrick Motor Sports ( two cars with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr and Aric Almirola); Roush Fenway Racing ( two cars with drivers David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose); Joe Gibbs Racing ( one car with driver Joey Logano); Michael Waltrip Racing (one car with driver Martin Truex Jr); and NEMCO Motor Sports ( One car with driver Joe Nemecheck).
Teams first got on the track at 11:45am. The initial restrictor plate size was 29/32 inch and the initial spoiler size was 4 ½ inches tall, 63 inches wide, which was the same spoiler size for last July’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona. By day’s end, the size of the rear spoiler had been reduced to 3 inches tall by 62 inches wide. The smaller spoiler results in less down force and drag, but still allows the cars to maintain high speeds and remain under control.
“Tuesday’s test session was a positive step in finding a solution to the drafting style at Daytona. I think we’re all in agreement that we probably wont totally rid ourselves of the tandem racing.” - Dale Earnhardt Jr
"We tried several different packages and what we're trying to do is put an end to this two-car draft, or at least make it so we can only get together for a lap or two and have to switch or run in a pack."-Martin Truex Jr
Joe Nemechek, a driver/car owner, reached 203 mph without a drafting partner during Tuesday’s test session at Daytona. Nemecheck was testing with Triad Engine Development, a North Carolina- based company. They were using a 1 1/16- inch plate and a 3 inch radius spoiler.
Both Earnhardt and Truex agreed that the transition to Electronic Fuel Injection in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is right on track. The sport's premier series will implement EFI beginning at Daytona next season. "The computer guys like what they've seen so far with the EFI test and I'll tell you what, when I've tested the EFI car, it drives as well or better than the carburetor cars," said Earnhardt. "To be honest with you, if you didn't know it when you got into the car, you couldn't tell a difference," said Truex. "The only thing that's different is the way it starts. You don't have to pump the gas like a normal carburetor. You just flip the switch and crank it up like a street car.
"One of our goals is to give the teams more options when it comes to how they draft and we believe we're headed in the right direction on that. We want to be able to reduce the difference in the speeds between the tandem style of racing and more of the pack style of racing and we made a lot of good progress on that here today. The real goal is to try to formulate a package at least that we can give to the teams so they can work on coming down here in January for the Daytona 500 test."- John Darby- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director.
I had the privilege to speak with five race fans via social networking. I asked them how they felt about the tandem racing.
"I hate the tandem racing! I would rather see the pack racing. I go to Talladega every fall, but the last couple of years I have been more interested in going to a river to eat than watching that form of racing." - John Hickson
"I don’t like the tandem racing. I think the pack racing is a lot more exciting. It just seems with the new car design that pack racing is just not feasible, I really don't understand why." - Karen Wofford
"I do not like the tandem racing at all ! It defeats the purpose of having large tracks ! I also do not like Kyle Busch and his style of Racing ! NASCAR is not happy with the stands half full. NASCAR will continue to make the majority of the fans unhappy! Someday NASCAR will wake up just like AMERICA and do the right thing ! Lets just hope and pray its not to late for either." - Jerry Hack Bradshaw

"I do not like the tandem racing! I would rather see them run the same part of the track as the Rolex cars."- Kenneth Mazza
"Loose the rear spoiler, air dam/ splitter, and side skirts. Require 4" ground clearance. Also loose the squared off rear bumpers and run a stock shaped rear bumper cover. I think these changes would require the drivers to go slower in the turns and eliminate the tandem drafting". - Miles Turner
I believe NASCAR is doing the right thing by trying to eliminate the Tandem racing or reduce it at least. Many race fans do not enjoy watching that form of racing. NASCAR did not find a solution on how they are going to eliminate or reduce the tandem racing, but they learned a lot and they gathered a lot of information from Tuesday’s Test at Daytona. I honestly don’t think we will see tandem racing go away completely, but I believe we will at least see the tandem racing reduced a little bit in 2012.


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