For a few years now I have become an avid fan of NASCAR. I would even place it above most of the team sports that I used to follow closely. Perhaps my more recent involvement in motor vehicles has contributed to this. I also believe that the advances in TV production have made the sport even more watchable. However, it seems to me that recent NASCAR changes to vehicles have been a major failure.
What I am talking about is this year’s changes to the car aerodynamics. The current vehicle type is in its third year of use. The last two years the organization has successively reduced the downforce on the vehicles. It has gone too far: the cars have become too difficult to control.
I have felt this for the last few weeks, but last week in Indianapolis was the clincher for me. Everyone who watched it saw wreck after wreck without a collision being the cause. The wrecks were caused by cars passing on the outside and causing the inside car to lose control. This doesn’t seem to me to be quality racing. Cars are swinging wide to avoid getting turned around by loss of downforce. Drivers of fast cars are being dumped out of the races too easily. Something has to be done.
I plan on watching today’s race with a keen eye on how the drivers struggle to keep their cars under control. If you drove a car model that always lost control when you were passed, you know that would be a huge class-action, product liability suit. It seems to me that most of the drivers are “biting their lips” these days about this situation.
NASCAR has been very vocal about how it does everything it can to protect the drivers and other participants. But are they really? This current configuration is thrusting more and more drivers into crashes that really not need happen. The drivers are the most valuable asset the sport has. They need to have cars they can adequately control in a wide variety of situations.
NASCAR, please tighten up these loose cars!