NASCAR’s new Car of Tomorrow has been a hotly debated topic among the Nextel Cup drivers and team owners this season.
Car owners agree that it makes sense to go ahead with the Car of Tomorrow on a full time basis. Of course, they look at it from a financial standpoint, not from a competition standpoint.
All Nextel Cup teams, are being forced to run two programs simultaneously. The Car of Tomorrow is scheduled to run 16 races this season with the current car running the rest.
The burdens put on the teams and owners are more than is necessary. Financially, it is especially hard on the smaller teams that have much less of a budget.
Most of the drivers aren’t too happy with the Car of Tomorrow. They complain about how the car handles and say it’s hard to drive. Some compare the Car of Tomorrow to trying to drive a bus or truck around the track at 150 miles per hour.
Even though he’s won two races with the Car of Tomorrow, Jeff Gordon isn’t ready to go full time with it yet. His criticism is the Car of Tomorrow has yet to run on a 1.5 mile track.
“I still think there are things that need to evolve with this car that are not there yet,” Gordon said.
Most drivers favor going with either the Car of Tomorrow or the current car full time.
Earlier this month, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “I don’t like doing two different cars, it’s one or the other. I’d go full time with the Car of Tomorrow right now. Why not?”
The Toyota teams are the biggest fans of running the Car of Tomorrow exclusively. They’re having a hard go of it in their first year in Nextel Cup and believe it would be a tremendous help to their programs.
Michael Waltrip runs a three car Toyota team and thinks the Car of Tomorrow will save everybody money and make Toyota more competitive.
The bottom line is weather for or against the Car of Tomorrow, everybody in Nextel Cup racing will have to adapt. Like it or not, for the 2008 racing season and beyond the Car of Tomorrow will be the “Car of Today.”