Roush Fenway Ready for Return of the Spoiler Concord, N.C. (March 26, 2010) -- This weekend Roush Fenway Racing, along with the rest of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, will make its official return to the 'spoiler' and bid a fond adieu to the 'wing'...
Roush Fenway Ready for Return of the Spoiler
Concord, N.C. (March 26, 2010) -- This weekend Roush Fenway Racing, along with the rest of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, will make its official return to the 'spoiler' and bid a fond adieu to the 'wing' era, as the series rolls into action at Martinsville Speedway (Virginia) for the sixth race of the season.
The majority of Sprint Cup teams conducted 'spoiler' tests this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and results and opinions vary as much as the variables and possibilities of the impact the spoiler may (or may not) have on the racing.
"I really like the spoiler," said Carl Edwards, who won 11 of the 93 'wing' races. "I think it looks great. I think it's a great move (by NASCAR). The fans are going to like it and it doesn't seem to make the car feel much different."
"Adding the spoiler on the car will make for better racing on the high speed tracks," said David Ragan. "Now the cars will actually look like a stock car, just like they are supposed to look. I'm really looking forward to the next few races with the spoiler." But will the change go beyond simple cosmetics?
"That a very technical question and one that I have asked my engineers," said team owner Jack Roush. "When you approach the corner in the car, you get on the brakes and the front end goes down and the back end of the car goes up; because the center of mass is above the contact part of the tire. So the car rotates forward. As that happens, the point of pressure - or the aerodynamic impact - on the spoiler car tends to move toward the front and on the wing car it tends to move toward the back. I believe the problem we've had with the cars not turning well enough in the center of the corner will be benefited by the fact that the point of the pressure will move more forward with the spoiler.
"We did not realize what we had going for us with the spoiler to start with," added Roush. "The point of pressure moving forward should help the car turn. I think that you will have a happier time and (better) results from a handling point of view going back to the spoiler, and that the cars will turn better."
"I tested it at Texas and at Charlotte and I really liked it," said Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle. "I think it's going to be good for our cars, especially once we all get the variable figured out."
Biffle went on to say that he does not agree with those who say the change is merely aesthetic for fan and media purposes. However, he did admit he does prefer the new (or old) look.
"I'm going to say that I don't totally agree with that statement," added Biffle" I believe it's more in the middle of that. The balance shift, it's going to act different behind other cars, and it's going to act different beside cars. It definitely will drive a lot different and race differently. But again the car looks better and I think it kind of gets back to the old NASCAR, if you will, but I don't think it's totally for cosmetics."
Biffle also went on to caution that the true impact of the change most likely will not be felt until the roll into Texas in mid April.
"Martinsville is not going to tell us anything, that's the slowest place we go," said Biffle. "I think that when you get to a couple of races with this spoiler on faster tracks (mile to mile and a half), then we're really going to know what it's like and how it drives beside cars and those kinds of things."
Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth agreed that the teams really won't know the effects until they get in more side-by-side situations at the faster tracks.
"I think the biggest thing (now) is it looks different," said Kenseth. "You can't tell until we really race and get out there with a bunch of cars and run side-by-side and all that. I don't know if we will know the effects of it or not on this car. Running by yourself hasn't been a big deal. Balances haven't been much different, there's definitely more drag. It's slower on the straight-aways and a little faster operating the corners, so it's a little different, but the big stuff we'll have to find out later."
As far as whether he is happy to see the wing go, Kenseth said will depend on how it all plays out.
"I can't honestly answer that until we race for awhile and see how our performance is," said Kenseth, who along with Biffle are the only two drivers to finish top 10 in each of the first five races in 2010.
"If our performance is better without it, then I'll be happy to see the wing go. If our performance was better before and we can't get a handle on this thing, I think we'll probably wish we had it back. So I think it just depends on what situation we're in."
For the record, Roush Fenway Racing won 16 of the 93 wing races (Carl Edwards -11, Matt Kenseth -2, Greg Biffle -2, Jamie McMurray -1).