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The new NASCAR season will be opening with a lot of questions.....

   Crew chief Tony Gibson (L) looks at the remains of Ryan Newman's Talladega 500 car last fall (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    By Mike Mulhern

    Yes, the new NASCAR season opens in just 17 days...and many key new rules are still in pencil.
    Like, will NASCAR use the 'new' old flat-blade rear spoiler at Talladega in April, or the current but soon to be obsolete wing?
    Like, what about the size of the restrictor plates for Daytona and Talladega? NASCAR went smaller last year, to cut speeds; now it's floating the idea it may go bigger this year.
    And will NASCAR eliminate the yellow out-of-bounds line at Daytona and Talladega?
    And what will NASCAR do about 'slam-drafting' at those two tracks?
    And what might drivers think about all this, not to mention the crew chiefs?
    Well, as NASCAR's annual preseason Charlotte Media Tour kicked off Monday, Sprint Cup teams say they're just happy that NASCAR is willing to consider some changes...finally.
    The last two years or so NASCAR has pretty much kept the rulebook closed to changes.
    But this season it looks like things are going to change. And even NASCAR officials don't seem to know just what or where or when.
    Usually that would be cause for great gnashing of teeth, all the uncertainty.
    But not at the moment. Because this 'new' car-of-tomorrow' has been such a pain for crews and drivers to work with that they're happy just to sense some changes in the air.
   And maybe it's a move by NASCAR to shake up things in the Hendrick Motorsports camp, which dominated Cup action last season.
   But then Tony Gibson, Ryan Newman's crew chief, says those exotic and expensive computer simulation programs are so good right now that any such changes can simply be dialed in, and the results known almost immediately.
   So why even change the rear spoiler?
   "Anything to keep the cars on the ground," says Newman, who was victim in two frightening Talladega crashes last season.
   The new spoiler is to be set at 70 degrees; it will be four-inches-tall, at the center of the rear deck, and it will have to be straight across, not following any body contours. How much more downforce, if any, it might offer, is unclear. Adding downforce of course would affect Goodyear's tires; hence the Goodyear tire-and-spoiler test at Texas Motor Speedway in the next few days will be very important. And already crews not invited to that test are complaining.
    For Newman and teammate, and owner-driver, Tony Stewart, the old gang is back for Year Two, and their crew chiefs Darien Grubb and Gibson, and GM Bobby Hutchens. And, yes, there are a lot of rumors about what might happen to this Rick Hendrick satellite operation in 2011, but this is 2010:
   "Just getting to know everybody was my biggest transition last year," Newman said.  "This year – it's defining our future."
   Last season both Stewart and Newman surprised many by making the championship chase. For a first-year owner-driver team (Stewart taking the helm of the Hendrick-inspired Gene Haas team, at Chevrolet's push), that was amazing. And following that up this season may be tough, particularly if rivals Richard Childress and Jack Roush make big moves to regain momentum in their own camps.
   "Last year we were just trying to figure out what direction we were going to go," Hutchens says. "This winter we've hired a few new people, and the main thing for me is we've got cars sitting out on the floor...last year we had an empty shop."
   One of the first big issues this season, for every team, is the planned new flat-blade rear spoiler. And testing time – other than all that secret testing teams have been doing at unknown locations – may be limited. "Don't think because it's a blade that it will give you more downforce; that depends on the angle and other things," Newman says. "This car (car-of-tomorrow) has been a challenge, in the hole it punches in the air, in dirty air – from 15th on back.
   "So the new spoiler opens up a new can of worms."
    One thing about the blade spoiler might be the side-draft – when cars get side by side.
    Hutchens says if NASCAR does switch to the flat blade rear spoiler for the April Talladega 500, he would like to see NASCAR hold a major aerodynamic test at that track, to let drivers – and officials – see just what might be in store for the race.
    Fuel injection, raised as an issue by NASCAR last summer, has yet to be set in stone, but it could become an issue this season, but probably not.
    For Stewart, the job ahead is to keep the ball rolling, after over-achieving his first season: "The one thing I think I can pat myself on the back for is getting all these people lined up: Bobby, Tony, Darien and Ryan.
   "Ryan and I are just a great fit. I have been very fortunate to get this group of guys together. It's very hard in this business to get a good core group together like this."
    Well, Stewart still hasn't forgotten that 2008 Daytona 500, when Newman beat Stewart in that dramatic finish.
    Last season's Daytona 500 wasn't as kind to Newman. He blew a tire and crashed. "We may never know if that was the tire's problem or if we ran over a piece of debris," Newman says.
   And Newman went winless over the season, though he had opportunities.
   Has Stewart mellowed over his 11 years in the sport? He did seem happier the first part of last year...though the last 10 weeks he was not usually in a very good mood – after 'winning' the regular season going away, and then struggling against Jimmie Johnson in the chase.
   "Darien has been a very calming variable in the equation," Stewart says. "He keeps me calm.
   But then Stewart has a big plus on his side – Johnson and Company are teammates.

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NASCAR problem

NASCAR has to get a way that the drivers will race all 500 miles not just the last hundred. maybe just run 100 lap races because all the drivers do is cruise around till the last 100 miles.they should give more points for leading a lap so more driver will try to lead.

FI in NASCAR cup racing

NASCAR has been running FI engines in Grand Am for years and they know how to police them so why not use these engines in cup racing ???

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