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NASCAR's new Nationwide car may create wreck-fest Friday night, drivers and crews fear

  Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. practicing for Daytona's Subway 250: Wreck-fest looming? (Photo: Toyota Racing)

  By Mike Mulhern

   A major league crash-fest appears to be shaping up for Friday night's Nationwide 250, drivers and crew chiefs worry, after first rounds of practice.
   The new Nationwide cars have very little downforce, they complain.
   "This is a very tough place to bring out a new race car," Greg Biffle says. "I love driving Nationwide races, but I'm glad I'm sitting this one out.
   "This track is really slick and hot in July, and even the Cup cars are a stinking handful. I've raced some Nationwide races here in the summer, and this is by far the toughest track for that. Remember when Dale Earnhardt Jr. even ran away from the field? We never seen that in plate races....."
   A number of Cup stars are running in the 250, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Reed Sorenson, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.
   Bowyer says the new Nationwide car "just seems light...all the way around. They are a handful.
  "It's like what we fought the first time we had to run the Cup car-of-tomorrow. It will take us a while to figure this new car out."
   The new Nationwide car uses the Cup COT chassis but with much different body work.
   It is the body that has hurt the aerodynamics. Teams say they have complained to NASCAR about the lack of downforce but to no effect.
   But it was another, even more serious issue that was the talk of the Nationwide garage Friday – Mark Green's car lost six heavy lead bars of ballast at a 180 mph, and that lead smashed into Steven Wallace's car.
   At least one of those lead bars crashed through the nose of Wallace's car and actually ripped apart some of the heavy steel rollbars. Another bar bounced off the top of the windshield, narrowly missing slicing through the windshield right at the driver's head.
   "That boy was awfully lucky," Rusty Wallace, Steven's father, said. "That could have killed him."

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  Dale Earnhardt Jr., sporting Dad's old colors, for Friday's Nationwide 250 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Lack Of Downforce NEVER Works

Has NASCAR learned anything from the COT? When they cut downforce on the COT the cars couldn't race; even when teams worked like crazy on the chassis construction, the bodies, etc. the COT has gone from unraceable to just mediocre. The bodywork hasn't looked as great as some hype it up to be.

i agree: more downforce is

i agree: more downforce is better, period.
i agree: the cot may be safer, but as a race car it's been a dog.
i agree: the new nationwide cot is overhyped and underworked.

I like the look and the idea

I like the look and the idea of the new cars. Maybe NASCAR should have waited until IRP to roll them out though, with Iowa and Watkins Glen as races to follow where downforce is not as critical at those tracks. Debuting a new car with unknown dynamics is not the thing to do at a restrictor-plate track. I guess they wanted to do it here because all of the Cup drivers will be there and it's the world center of racing. They're getting the cars better, now get the series right and quit letting the Cup drivers run for points and limit the amount of them in the fields each week of the Nationwide and Truck series.

i have no idea why nascar

i have no idea why nascar decided to roll it out here. like the Biff says, this place is a bear in July. the rollout was first to have been at michigan, a much better place I'd say.
But if the aero package on these new nationwide cars is as off as crews and drivers say, wow, who was asleep at the switch in the wind tunnel?

COT needs wider tires

NASCAR upgraded everthing execpt for tires. The COT would race better if it had wider tires.

every stock car would handle

every stock car would handle better and race better with wider tires....or less weight, a lower CG, longer wheelbase, wider wheelbase, more downforce.....
nascar should look at a lot of things like that....

COT raceability

Ya know what a race is? It's two or more idiots trying to outrun the rest with equal equipment. It doesn't mean they get the best there is. In NASCAR, the top tier should have the worst handling cars, so the drivers can make a difference. In fact, that's what NASCAR has said its overall theme is: the trucks handle best, Nationwide worst than that, and Cup worst than either.

As long as the equipment is equal, with no one having an advantage, it's shut up, strap in, RACE! I don't know what you want in a race, but when NASCAR tries to placate the media, the racing gets worse. I enjoy watching Nationwide and Cup as is. there is always gonna be a runaway leader. there just is no way around it and, compared to 'the good old days' racing is closer than its EVER been. There just ISN'T a 5-lap leader anymore. Let's get a race in before we start shootind the horses. Eh?

lol: nascar placating the

lol: nascar placating the media....we're still waiting for that ;)
yep, the racing is really, really good, some of the best i've seen. but i dont understand why cup should have the worst handling vehicles -- look at F1....
in my book more downforce is always better, and less downforce is bad. it's not about an advantage, it's about a car that handles. you make a driver comfortable and he'll put on a heck of a show.

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