Brian France says biggest mistake was Car of Tomorrow
Brian France said Friday that his (and NASCAR’s) biggest mistake has been the Car of Tomorrow.
France was asked what his biggest mistake was at the Detroit Economic Club where he spoke to high school and college students.
“We are going to make mistakes,” said France, who has pushed the competitive envelope at NASCAR since taking over from his father Bill France Jr. in 2003, making significant changes to series qualifying rules and the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship format, among other things. “Occasionally, we make a big one now and again. I would say that if there is one thing we could have done better in the last 10 years under my watch, is when we launched what we called ‘the new car.’ It is now called the Gen-5. We just didn’t get the collaboration we needed to get from the industry, the owners, the drivers, the engineers and car manufacturers.
“They had a voice, but they didn’t have a loud enough voice, and so we changed that.”
The COT was the car introduced in 2007 that initially had the garish front splitter and the giant wing on the back. NASCAR used it through the 2012 season until the new car was introduced in 2013.
It’s fair to wonder if the COT would be viewed as a big mistake if the sanctioning body had spent more time on it and originally gone with the spoilers and front splitters that were on the car when it was last used in 2012. Here’s what a COT looked like in 2007 vs. 2012.
If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t think those were the same cars. Plus, if you look at the racing from 2012 to now, there isn’t a monstrous visual performance gap. The cars are still very aerodynamically dependent. Perhaps a variation of the COT would still be in use if it didn’t start out so garish-looking? It’s at least worth a thought.
But props to France for admitting that NASCAR could have done a better job with the car. And if you notice, he didn’t criticize the racing product while talking about it. That’s good, because it prevents the awkwardness of having to fine himself.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected]o.com or follow him on Twitter!