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Evernham mixed on NASCAR’s efforts to help Gen-6 race better

Nov 27, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Ford 400 Qualifying Getty Images

When it comes to NASCAR’s attempts to improve the racing on its intermediate ovals with the new Gen-6 car, three-time Sprint Cup champion crew chief Ray Evernham sees some things that he likes. He also sees some things that he doesn’t like.

Evernham, who now works as a NASCAR television analyst, called into Performance Racing Network’s “Fast Talk” earlier this week, where he gave his thoughts on the matter to host Doug Rice and former Cup driver Kyle Petty.

On the positive side of things, Evernham liked the fact that the sanctioning body is experimenting with not having a minimum ride height requirement in place on the cars – which he believes would allow more tailoring to a driver’s specific style.

“I’ve never agreed with having to hold all those heights the same because then, you’re limited to the springs, shocks, and bump stops, and not everybody likes to drive a car the same way,” he explained.

“These cars are so [aerodynamically] dependent right now that how it gets to that perfect height has really got a lot to do with driver feel, that transitional handling.”

But he also cautioned NASCAR not to add more aerodynamic pieces to the Gen-6 such as bigger spoilers.

“I really feel that we need to be going the other way,” he said. “The drivers will yell and scream and I’ve already made ‘em mad at me when I’ve said that, but they need to take as much aero off the car as they can and let ‘em go back to running a softer tire…I just feel like when we get so aero-dependent, it hurts our racing.”

After running through possible aero changes back in mid-October at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR will return to the 1.5-mile oval on Dec. 9 for further testing that could finalize its 2014 intermediate package.

As for Petty’s thoughts on the test, they weren’t quite as in-depth as Evernham’s but he made the observation that the good races in Sprint Cup have been coming not from the 1.5-milers, but from restrictor-plate tracks, road courses, and short ovals.

“That’s what the heart and soul of the sport is – those intermediate tracks, the mile-and-a-half tracks,” he said. “And it’s funny, because that’s where we used to have some of the greatest racing that the sport had.

“It’s gravitated and moved to the edges – Talladega and Daytona on one side, road courses on the other side and Bristol and Martinsville right in there. Those are our better races now.”

  1. redsman78 - Nov 28, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    I can’t disagree…..racing needs to be ‘old school’….be able to fit the car to the driver. Give a some leeway as to racing style…..I thoroughly believe that this would improve stock car racing and start to bring back the fans that have slowly faded away. Since Earnhardt died at Daytona, NASCAR has become a bit pedestrian, maybe too over cautious. I certainly do agree with the changes and rules implemented for driver safety inside the car such as the HANS device, but at some point racing should be racing. Do you think the’ Old Heads’ would disagree? I don’t……just sayin

    • ajurski - Dec 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      There comes a time when people have to realize that they are running at 200 mph next to a concrete wall with 42 other drivers all trying to get to the same position. You can run tests, crash cars into walls etc. to try and make them completely indestructible but in the end you cannot make the cars 100% safe unless you turn them into RC cars with the drivers standing on top of the grandstand.

  2. zemaniak - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    How about just racing “stock” stock cars? Imitate GT1 using muscle cars or (yuk) current sedans

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