BACK IN THE DAY
In the 60's, drivers discovered that they could run close behind another car and when the moment was right, they could swing out and use the "SLINGSHOT" to pass the car in front.
The term drafting was never used, "SLINGSHOT" was the word.
There were no wind tunnels in the 60's and aerodynamics was a term that few knew. There were no engineers or testing back then.
Yes, there were tire tests, but only a couple of drivers were chosen and you had TWO different tire manufacturers, Firestone and Goodyear.
In the early 60's, handling and horsepower were everything in Nascar. Rex White won the 1960 Grand National Championship as an owner/driver/mechanic.
White learned that the shock absorber was the key to going fast on the small dirt and asphalt tracks that made up the majority of tracks that Nascar raced on.
In fact, White would use soda pop cans to make his own shims for the shock absorbers and all of the competition talked about the crazy looks of his Chevrolet Impala.
White told me that the shock absorbers were very important to getting thru the turns and the dampening affect helped control the coil springs.
As the 1 1/2 mile speedways were being built, drivers were finding out that the sleeker the car was, the faster it would go.
In the 60's, they had no "SPLITTER", it was headlights that had tape to keep the glass lenses from busting up in a crash.
In the early 60's, the race cars were like a box and they knocked a big hole in the air and drivers discovered that the "Slingshot" was their way to pass a faster car.
Holman and Moody was Ford Motor Company's factory team and they tried to take advantage of the air by welding a 1960 Ford Starliner roof on a 1962 Ford Galaxy.
Big Bill axed that idea because the car wasn't mass produced, so in 1963, Ford came out with the Galaxy 500 Fastback model with a slopping rear window and that began the era of aerodynamics in Nascar.
Chevrolet Impala's, Ford Galaxy 500's and Pontiac Catalina's ALL had the sloapping rear window's.
Smokey Unick was the first car builder to incorporate a "SPOILER" on the rear deck lid to give the car better traction and downforce.
In the 60's, the tires had no inner-liners and when they blew out, you would hear a noise like a shotgun going off and the car would be out of control.
It was common back then for the race cars to go thru or over the simple guardrails that were in place at the speedways.
Now we are dealing with another form of a box in the Car of Today. With the "PLATE", they have no power to "SLINGSHOT" past another car.
It has a "SPLITTER" that will slice the valve stems right off of the car beside you.
And now, there is the "WING". Nascar spent years testing different kinds of flaps that would employ when a car was out of control and now they are USELESS because the air off the WING lifts the rear end of the car as it spins backwards.
A lot of the safety built into the COT was truly needed (moving the driver more to the center), but the "SPLITTER" and the "WING" have proven to be a hazard instead of a bonus to the safety of the driver.
If Nascar doesn't make some changes, race fans will stay away from the tracks and the TV sets will be turned to the NFL and the NBA.
So please Nascar, give us back the "SLINGSHOT" and the "SPOILER" before everyone abandons the SPORT!
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