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What is the NASCAR Car Of Tomorrow?

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Question: What is the NASCAR Car Of Tomorrow?
The NASCAR Car Of Tomorrow will be introduced to NEXTEL Cup racing for 16 races in 2007. NASCAR will switch to the Car of Tomorrow for the entire 2008 schedule. What is the Car Of Tomorrow and why is NASCAR switching to it?
Answer:

What Is The Car Of Tomorrow?

Over five years in design the NASCAR Car Of Tomorrow was designed from the ground up to be safer, more competitive and cheaper for the race teams. NASCAR has spent extensive time on the drawing board, computer simulations, in the wind tunnel and on the track to design the ideal NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race car for the future.

What did they come up with and how different is it from the current NEXTEL Cup race car? Before we get into the specific features here are some pictures of the new NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Dodge Avenger.

Car Of Tomorrow Safety Features

The Car Of Tomorrow is wider and taller than the current NEXTEL Cup race car. The drivers roll cage has been moved back and the driver's seat has moved in towards the center of the car. This provides a larger crumple zone around the driver and will help protect him in a side impact.

The exhaust system in the Car Of Tomorrow has been rerouted and designed to keep heat away from the driver. This will help reduce fatigue and prevent some of the blisters and heat exhaustion that we sometimes see today.

Car Of Tomorrow Competitive Features

Another big aspect of the Car Of Tomorrow are the competitive improvements in the design. The Car Of Tomorrow was designed to provide more passing and make the cars less sensitive to other cars.

NASCAR made a number of changes designed to make the cars less aerodynamic. The windshield is now standing up much straighter causing it to catch more wind, increasing drag and slowing the cars. Also the front bumper has been redesigned with a new front splitter to catch the air instead of cut through it. You can see the front splitter in this picture below the front bumper.

Another competitive feature is the new, larger rear wing which should increase the stability of the cars and slow them down. This is another feature designed to make the cars punch a larger hole in the air.

The Car Of Tomorrow will be less aerodynamic and will depend less on the wind for its stability. This will help the cars drive better in traffic and will reduce the "aero push" which currently makes it very difficult for cars to pass on the track at speed.

More passing makes for better racing.

Car of Tomorrow Cost Efficient Features

NASCAR was also concerned about the financial burden that the Car Of Tomorrow would impose on the teams. Currently NEXTEL Cup teams use different cars for short tracks, road courses, superspeedways and restrictor plate races. The Car Of Tomorrow is the same frame, roll cage and body for all different types of race tracks.

This will reduce the costs of building cars as a team would require fewer cars for teams to compete in a full season. Your Bristol car could be reused in Watkins Glen, Michigan and Talladega if necessary.

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