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October 20, 2014

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Will the spoiler help or hurt the No. 48 team?

During a press conference over the Las Vegas race weekend, Kevin Harvick was asked about Richard Childress Racing’s newfound momentum. Harvick suggested that the introduction of spoilers on the Cup cars could throw a wrench into his team’s success.

This weekend the cars start using the spoiler at Martinsville. So what effect could this have on the success the No. 48 car is having this season? My guess? Not much.

During this week’s test of the spoiler at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson didn’t seem to be too concerned about the change. “There is nothing big jumping out at us,” Johnson told Scenedaily.com.

The No. 48 team is the best at adapting to change and overcoming obstacles that would be a setback for other teams. Johnson’s crew got an early handle on the COT when it was introduced and it has been able to methodically overcome issues during the last four racing seasons to secure four championships. The ability that leads to championships and the confidence that comes from winning them gives this team a hefty advantage over the other teams. “I think we’re viewing this as an opportunity,” Johnson said. “We might not be the first team to find the magic the spoiler wants, but we’re usually pretty good at finding stuff in a hurry.”

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The increased drag created by the spoiler changes the balance of the Cup cars and will create challenges for some teams. But the No. 48 team’s ability to adjust quickly may be a harder thing for other teams to overcome than the addition of the spoiler.

But I’m hoping that other teams can quickly get a handle on the spoiler so that this season doesn’t turn into the Jimmie Johnson show again. Since the spoiler increases the drag and downforce on the cars, it is expected that we could see more side-by-side racing. If that’s the case, then maybe there are a few teams out there that can give the No. 48 team a real run for its money.

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