Don't blame the wing

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Ford Racing's top aerodynamic engineer said Sunday that taking the much-hated wing off NASCAR Sprint Cup cars won't stop them from becoming airborne killer missiles.

Bernie Marcus said that those who blamed the wing for Brad Keselowski's big crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway were simply wrong.

He said no matter what type of device NASCAR put on the rear deck of the 3,500-pound stock cars, it wouldn't have prevented Keselowski's wild ride.

"Every time you have an accident at a big track, cars can fly," Marcus said. "That's just a simple fact of physics."

Marcus, who has worked in both the Formula 1 and the IndyCar series, said that any time you have stocks cars -- the way they are currently configured -- racing at more than 180 m.p.h. on tracks of 1.5 miles or longer, the possibility of one of them taking off into the air in a spinout is high.

One solution, he said, is to slow the cars down, but that would be impractical he said, because it would no longer be racing.

In any event, NASCAR bosses have ordered that the wings -- which have been universally panned by both drivers and fans -- off of the cars when the series races next week at Martinsville Speedway.

The wing was first put on Sprint Cup cars in 2008 when NASCAR developed the so-called Car of Tomorrow. While with other innovations, the car has proven to be the safest in stock car racing history, the wing on the rear deck stuck out like a sore thumb.

So, it became a handy whipping boy when Keselowski and Carl Edwards at Talladega last season took unwanted flying lessons.

Marcus said he has been working with NASCAR on a number of other solutions, even though the wing is now history.

"We tested last week in another liftoff test as a result of what happened in Atlanta," Marcus said. "(NASCAR) is really reacting to it in a very fast way and a proactive way.

"They're looking at what we can do to prevent this from happening again. There are more things in the pipeline, and they probably will be introduced at some point. We're looking at options to somehow get rid of the air that goes under the car."

There is a possibility, Marcus said, that NASCAR could develop some sort of diffuser under the rear-end of the car to provide downforce when the cars get turned around.

It was while going backwards that both Keselowski and Edwards cars took flight.

"All this is an ongoing thing," Marcus said.

"In the past, NASCAR would react to accidents. Now they want to be more proactive. They have us involved a little more in looking further ahead."


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