Last year at Bristol NASCAR debuted the new safer, car The Car of Tomorrow (COT). The car features a bigger greenhouse with side foam for driver safety, for added safety the driver was moved a bit to the right. No one can question that the COT is safer than the old car. That point was made evident when Michael McDowell went for a lack of better words ass over apple carts at Texas. But the question is does the car make for better racing. After all in my previous article I said that NASCAR has to always remember that competition should and must be at the forefront.
The first season for the COT saw the car race at 16 events all under a mile and half, except the largest being Talledega. 2007 also saw Hendrick Motorsports win many of the COT races. This season as previously mentioned in my last article, Kyle Busch and his #18 Toyota have won 6 of the 18 events.
What got me think about this question of whether or not the COT has produced greater competition, was my father after 7 years of watching nearly every race from start to finish, blamed the COT for lack of interest in NASCAR.
Along with the safety aspect of the COT Its great durability is something to tip a hat to NASCAR. Any time you keep a car on the track not only helps the teams, because they arn't rebuilding a car every week but it also engages fans which means better ratings and attendance for NASCAR.
Maybe the biggest problem with the COT is the dreaded bumpstop. From my understanding The Bump Stop prevents the shock from collapsing at a given point, thus reducing every bit of suspension to 4 Goodyear Tires. Keep in mind that theese things were outlawed by NASCAR in the past. Teams that can afford to are spending millions of dollars to figure these things out.
Goodyear Tires have been the offical tire of NASCAR for as long back as anyone can remember. But Goodyear is not to blame completley, They have to produce a tire hard enough to act as a shock for these cars, when they fall on the bump stops.
Overall to the best of my knowledge the COT has produced more lead changes and maybe more compelling races, but NASCAR said that these cars would but racing back into the driver's hand yet I offer you this counter point, is it possible that these cars drive so bad that the driver is at the mercy of the machine. Time will only continue to tell if the COT has been worth it, slowly that once ugly thing with a hideous wing is looking slightly more racy than back at Bristol in 07.
So is the COT a Bust or a Success? Safety-wise I give it an A+ Compitition-wise a B- and drivability a solid C. But I'm an optimist and I do believe that with time give it 3-4 years it will be better than it is now, but can NASCAR afford to wait that long? And can the COT produce better racing than the old car?
I also want to offer this prediction that as soon as the Nationwide Series transitions to its version of COT, the 2nd-tier series will once again more so than ever become a testing ground for Sprint Cup teams.
This by no means is a complete list of the goods and the bads of the COT, however its something to think about. Nothing more.