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And Chip Ganassi's decision is?

 So what's it going to be, Chip: Toyota or Chevrolet? Team sources say Chevy, but Ganassi won't say. And who's going to be teammate with Juan Pablo Montoya (R)? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   FORT WORTH, Texas

   The NASCAR Texas Notebook
   The word on the street is that car owner Chip Ganassi may finally sign an engine leasing renewal with Richard Childress and manufacturer's renewal with General Motors to keep Juan Pablo Montoya in a Chevrolet for 2010.
   GM officials are at Texas Motor Speedway, and a deal could be finalized by the end of the race Sunday, according to team sources.
   There has been speculation that Ganassi has been looking for a NASCAR-Toyota deal, either with Joe Gibbs or Team Red Bull. Ganassi has a long history with Toyota in other forms of racing. However team sources said they believed Ganassi only raised the Toyota prospect to try to wrangle a better deal with Chevrolet and Childress, and Toyota officials have given him something of the cold shoulder. Of course the Earnhardt (Teresa) connection here would have made a move to Toyota rather surprising anyway.
   Ganassi has yet to announce the driver for his second team next year, as teammate with Montoya. It is expected to be either Jamie McMurray or Casey Mears. Ganassi is said to favor McMurray, who once drove for him, but the sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, is said to favor Mears, because Mears is more the hunter than McMurray.

   More word on the street: NASCAR crewmen are worried that the end-of-season layoffs, coming later this month, could be worse than the team layoffs at the end of 2008.
   And it appears that in 2010 the bulk of the Sprint Cup teams will come from four major shops.

   NASCAR officials have been holding a number of meetings in the past few weeks, with team owners, crews and engine men, trying to look to the future, perhaps just trying to keep NASCAR "relevant" in today's world…particularly to the corporate sponsors.
   One item --electronic fuel injection will apparently be replacing these venerable carburetors in Cup cars in 2011. NASCAR is trying to find the simplest, cheapest way to add that to engines. (Just why NASCAR is making such a push to EFI is still curious, since of all the problems this sport faces engine carburetors would seem to be so far down the list….)

   Carl Edwards flipping at Talladega in April (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   A more crucial issue – flying cars at Talladega.
   It is being pointed out that the old style NASCAR stocker, with the old flat metal spoiler, didn't seem to flip and fly like the current winged-car-of-tomorrow does – perhaps because when this new car gets turned backwards the rear wing and indeed the entire now-enclosed rear end is much more aerodynamic and prone to lift than the car with the old spoiler, which would actually act as a airplane flap to work to hold the car down if it got turned around.
   One suggestion is to abandon the wing and go back to the flat spoiler; another suggestion is to put a large metal 'flap' under the rear of the car, a flap that wouldn't affect the car much while it is going forward but that would become a giant 'reverse' wing holding the rear of the car down if it were to get backwards. It also might help if there were some way to 'vent' the air being trapped under the car in situations like this.
   GM's Mark Kent, head of Chevrolet racing, says his department is working with NASCAR on just those aerodynamic issues.



One major problem that crews point out is that NASCAR, with its move to this low-downforce, tightly-templated car-of-tomorrow, has put more of the 'racing' back into the hands of the driver.....and what everyone has now seen is that Jimmie Johnson is by far the best driver on the tour -- and NASCAR has no way to try to 'balance' the playing field. Giving crew chiefs more wiggle room to work with, some point out, might well be to NASCAR's benefit.
   Meanwhile, all this comes as stock car teams are becoming increasingly strapped for money.
    Toyota's Lee White, head of NASCAR racing, says Toyota's somewhat surprising decision to withdraw immediately from Formula One racing, may hurt the company's NASCAR efforts, by the loss of so much key engineering advice and support.
    It is unclear just what effect the problems that the Formula One world is dealing with – the loss of Toyota, the loss of BMW, the loss of Honda, and Bridgestone's decision not to renew its tire contract when it winds up at the end of 2010 – might have on the NASCAR world.
  Bridgestone's F1 decision is quite interesting, because Michelin, which embarrassed F1 at Indianapolis in 2005, is not likely to get back in, and Goodyear, the other member of the tire world's Big Three,  probably wouldn't like the price point for F1 sponsorship.




The problem with the COT is

The problem with the COT is that they took out too much restrictor plate so they're now hitting 200 MPH in trap speeds - they already know that 190 is the cut-off point for the cars flying. It isn't the wing, and it isn't lack of a flap on the rear of the car - and BTW, we apparently forgot all those stories claiming the large rear spoiler was acting as a wing when cars got backwards.

EFI replacing carburetors is more rumor than fact - carbs work and remain easier to police; I can see no scenario where they are replaced.

Far more likely is a spending cap on race teams, a result of the pending layoffs that are shrinking the sport's teams to where, despite NASCAR efforts, it will become harder and harder to field full fields in 2010 and beyond without some major restriction in team spending - it is team spending that is driving up costs.

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