NASCAR

HAMMOND: NASCAR changes its mind as much as rules

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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Only six races into the season, it blows my mind that NASCAR has made two more changes, adding an inch to the nose of the Chevrolets and a quarter of an inch to the Ford spoilers. The first change is not really what you would call subtle either. It's not really a one-inch kick out. It's a one-inch extension to the nose of the Chevrolets. Realizing that you've got to move the front nose and front fenders or all of the above out an inch, it's not something that is done easily, especially for a lot of teams who have spent money on testing. Granted, the Chevrolet teams have a lot of ideas about how this works or they wouldn't have asked for it. But you have to go back and think about the costs to each team and the amount of information that has been basically lost during test time because of this rule change. It's somewhat surprising. It's just part of the game, but it's frustrating at the same time because of the amount of time that you have to spend with one setup and then all of the sudden, NASCAR gives you something that you would like to have had all along. I know they've been arguing for a long time to get a lot closer to the other makes, but now you've got 14 or 15 cars that you have to change.
NASCAR's recent rules changes

  • NASCAR on FOX April 5-7 in
    Texas (All times ET)
  • Fri., Winston Cup: Bud Pole Qualifying, 4 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Net
  • Sat., Winston Cup Happy Hour, 1 p.m. on FX and Busch 300 Presented by Old Spice, 2 p.m. on FOX
  • Sun., Samsung/Radio Shack 500, 1:30 p.m. on FOX
  • The change will help Chevrolet right away this week at Texas. Knowing how the system works, NASCAR probably told them, " We're going to let you have one change, and it better be the one you want." I feel like the Chevrolets knew what they were looking for. They knew that it would help total downforce and it will help everything related to their normal problems. It'll be a plus. As fast as they will be this weekend, I'd want all the balance I could get back in my race car. Looking ahead to Talladega, NASCAR's other change this week wasn't unexpected. As dominating as the Fords looked like they were at Daytona, I'm not surprised that NASCAR has added a quarter of an inch to the Ford spoilers. I think that NASCAR reluctantly gave them that final quarter of an inch at Daytona, and this may be a way for NASCAR to say, "You fooled us a little bit, boys so we're pulling back." But I take issue with this way of changing rules. Don't change until you know it's the right thing to do. Taking it away makes you look like you haven't done your homework. I've been a little upset this year with the way NASCAR has allowed teams to show up at the racetrack and then made changes. I think back on all the years when I wish I could have gone up in that truck and gotten a change. You would have to go a full season to try to get any kind of concession, and even then, it was like you were asking them to give up their firstborn. This year has been a huge shift with the amount of changes that they're willing to make and make the changes so easily. It looks like it's not being done with a lot of thought behind it. I'm a big advocate of trying to keep everybody as close as possible so the drivers and crews can settle it on the racetrack. I realize how difficult a job that is, but I still say that if you are not sure, then don't give it to them until you are. Maybe being sure is a lot harder than I want to think it is, When you test, know what you've got, work everything out and you do the best you can, let the smoke clear before you start doing something. Texas is going to be another one of those situations where we're going to learn whether it was the right thing to give Chevrolet a change. If the Chevrolets are dominating, what do you do? Do you give something to the rest of the field, or do you take something away? You go to Talladega, and all of the sudden, the Fords are struggling again, did you overreact to it or did they just get everything right that day? What is your basis for some of these changes? Lately, in some cases, I don't think we've gone far enough in these areas to totally warrant a change. At the same time in other issues, like safety, they've dragged their feet so I'm having a hard time trying to understand some of these changes. For more information about NASCAR on FOX analyst Jeff Hammond, including photos from his past and present days in NASCAR, check out JeffHammond.com.

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