Alba Colon, GM Racing's Sprint Cup program manager, said she thinks Burton's question about how the cars will react when they get in lines should be answered positively at TMS.
“The spoiler adds drag to the car,” Colon said, “so there is potential that they will be able to draft up on each other and pass easier than they could with the lower-drag wing. How the balance will change when the cars are nose-to-tail with the spoiler is a big question that we probably won't be able to answer until the racing begins at Texas.”
Four-time series champion Jimmie Johnson is more cautious in his assessment. He raised the specter of competition-ravaging “aero push,” where downforce on the front wheels is lessened to the point where it becomes tougher for the drivers to turn the car.
“The leader (at Phoenix) clearly had control of the race, and there wasn't very many passes for the lead,” Johnson said. “That might be something to look at going to Texas. The wing was put on the cars to allow the air to run under the wing and get lower so that the cars behind had air lower and wouldn't pick up the nose sooner and create more down force for them. The way the spoiler is designed, it picks it up higher so there's a chance that pocket of air behind the car is larger and won't allow us to get as close to one another in single-file racing.”
Technical? Yes. But come Sunday, fans won't need a professor—or a driver—standing at a dry-erase board offering an explanation. It'll be right there on the racetrack. Finally.