Upon further review

BY Darrell Waltrip • January 14, 2010

As you know, I have been a big proponent of getting that wing off the COT and getting it off there as soon as possible. I decided to make some calls, check with some crew chiefs, NASCAR, etc., and now I realize that it’s just not that simple.

The teams are going to need adequate time to do that. The other thing that comes into play is NASCAR's continued program of wanting to keep a level playing field, so they are going to need to issue the spoiler to the teams. They will need to have the spoilers manufactured with the correct material and to the correct specifications. It will have to be something universal that can bolt onto any car in the same position.

That’s something you cannot leave up to the teams. Trust me, back in the day teams would go to Daytona or Talladega with spoilers made out of all kinds of flimsy material with the goal being to get it to lay down in the wind. If you remember, a number of years ago NASCAR even had to mandate braces on the car to keep the spoiler at the correct angle.

So my point is that it is going to take more time to make it happen and having it ready for Daytona here in a few weeks is unrealistic. What I am hearing is that the current configuration will run the first handful of races in the 2010 season before a changeover is made. In all honesty, that is probably the fairest way to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, it still needs to be done and will be done, but just not as fast as I would have liked. It’s not for a lack of knowledge of what the switchover will do. Everyone has data from multiple trips to the windtunnel. It’s more about preparation and making sure that once the wing is removed, everyone has the same spoiler and no one has an advantage over the other guy.

The other alteration that will need to take place is the templates. A lot of the current templates are based around where the wing currently mounts on the car. So there are a lot more things that come into play than simply unbolting the wing, slapping a spoiler on there and go racing.

So everybody has their cars ready to go to Daytona under the current configuration. It simply wouldn’t be fair to throw them this curveball in the 11th hour. So I am going to back off beating the drum about that wing going away immediately. As we always tell you, the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the NASCAR year, so I agree we don’t need any last-minute changes.

The bottom line to all this is that I am very excited that there is movement and we are finally getting something done. Things are in motion to make this car better and I am really excited about that.

The other change that is for the positive is that NASCAR is going to put a bigger restrictor plate on the cars for the plate races. That means more horsepower and more horsepower means more speed. That means the cars will be faster and more fun to drive. It allows the driver to have more throttle response and at Daytona and Talladega these drivers need that. It gives the drivers so many more options.

When you have good throttle response, you can lift off the throttle when needed yet keep going when you get back into the throttle. That’s what drivers like at these type tracks and so the bigger plate will do. I think this new plate will make the racing better.

About that yellow

There’s still a lot of debate about what to do with the yellow line. Leave it? Take it out? Take part of it out? Ignore it? There’s still no consensus on it yet. I maintaining that it is wrong to have it all the way around the race track. I also still believe that if you don’t need it all the way around the track, then you don’t need it at all. We don’t need these “no bump zones” or “no passing zones”.

The only other option that comes to mind is when the white flag comes out. Maybe the rule should be after you take the white flag, which is the last lap of the race, you can pass wherever you want to. So when that white flag comes out, the race is on. That’s the way it should be. Let the drivers do what they have to do to win the race.

Just apply it to a couple recent Talladega races. If there was no yellow line rule on the last lap, Regan Smith probably wins Talladega and Tony Stewart doesn’t. If there wasn’t a yellow line rule, Carl Edwards probably wins the race instead of ending up in the fence and almost the grandstand. So my position is, if nothing else, that yellow line on the last lap of the race needs to go away.

Let the drivers drive. That’s what they are there to do. Sure, if someone gets way out of control, then NASCAR will have to step in. Trust me though, there are plenty of drivers like Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and other veterans that have no problem calling someone out when they are being stupid on the track. Again, that’s what drivers are supposed to do — police each other. When they do that, in my opinion, that’s when you have the best racing.

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