Published Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 | 5 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010 | 10:15 a.m.
The Transportation Safety Administration isn’t the only governing body that is reviewing rules regarding flight safety. After Sprint Cup cars took flight last season at Talladega, NASCAR has been working on a way to keep the cars from becoming airborne.
According to Lee Spencer of foxsports.com, NASCAR is considering scrapping the rear wing currently used on the Cup cars and replacing it with a spoiler. Last season Ryan Newman had speculated, after his own low altitude flight, that the rear wing was creating lift when the cars are backward in a spin.
According to Spencer, NASCAR didn’t return her calls regarding the rear wing. But if NASCAR does make this change, I hope it will have the effect we are looking for. Without a change, Talladega might have to consider installing a control tower.
No one wants to see cars airborne, especially fans in the stands close to the catch fence. NASCAR doesn’t want to have images of a car dangerously close to the limits of the catch fence beamed around the world. Not to mention the liability issues if something horrible were to happen.
Drivers certainly want their cars to remain on the ground, but there could also be a public relations benefit to axing the wings. Fans don’t like them. They think they make the cars look even less like a stock car. Spoilers, instead of wings, would give the cars a more traditional look that fans appreciate. The wing always looked out of place on the Cup cars. It was as if someone had clumsily grafted a part from an open-wheel car onto the trunk lid.
In addition, if drivers believe that their chances of becoming airborne have been reduced, the quality of the racing could improve.
Spencer said that NASCAR could introduce the new spoilers as early as the Bristol or Martinsville race.
NASCAR's Managing Director of Corporate Communication, Ramsey Poston, said on Friday that NASCAR is considering replacing the rear wings with spoilers, but that the change would have nothing to do with keeping the cars from becoming airborne. Poston mentioned that wind tunnel tests have shown that the wing had nothing to do with the way cars became airborne last season. He also stated that a decision to move to spoilers would be for the purpose of creating more downforce on the cars as a way to improve competition.