NASCAR has informed teams that an open test has been scheduled at Charlotte Motor Speedway in an attempt to transition from a rear wing to an aluminum spoiler sometime during the 2010 season. The session is currently scheduled March 23rd-24th, but no date for a switch has been specified, but the Martinsville Speedway race on March 28th, could be the earlier a change could be made.
The size and shape of the spoiler has not been determined, but NASCAR wants the spoiler to provide the same amount of downforce as the wing.
Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby wrote in the memo to teams:
To help put some of the rumor mills to rest, I am sending you the following facts as they relate to changes for 2010. We will be transitioning from the usage of the current wing to an aluminum spoiler.
NASCAR plans to test spoilers in the wind tunnel to determine the best size and shape. Once that is done, NASCAR will select a specific manufacturer to make the spoilers. Teams will be required to buy from the manufacturer.
Driver/owner Tony Stewart said of the move:
The thing is, NASCAR has been through changes for 60 years, just like the economy, just like technology. So this will be just another step in that equation. That’s the fun part of our sport, is that it makes everybody have to go work. That’s what makes it gratifying if you figure it out and become successful with it.
The “car of tomorrow,” which features a wing, was introduced in 2007, and was used full-time in 2008. Drivers and fans never fully accepted it. Drivers complained of limited vision because of the wing. And, fans said it made the racing boring. There were also complaints about how it made the cars look significantly different from their street counterparts.
NASCAR plans to announce this change at a press conference later this month. Other changes being considered include allowing bump drafting at restrictor plate tracks, and doing away with the yellow line rule at those tracks.