NASCAR Announces Pontiac Modifications

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR officials announced Thursday that a new rear bumper cover for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix will go into effect beginning with this weekend’s race at Dover Downs International Speedway.

This modification is optional to Pontiac teams until June 28, when all teams must use the newly approved rear bumper cover.

Just last week, James Ince, crew chief for Johnny Benson, said that the events at The Winston and the Coca-Cola 600 revealed flaws in the car's design, especially how it produces downforce.

"When people ask me about the Pontiac I like to use the term aerodynamically challenged," Ince said.

Ince lobbied for NASCAR to make changes to the Pontiac's design, just as it has in the past with the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. He said Friday that the move is just a start.

"We figure it is about half of what our Lycos Pontiac needs, but it is a step in the right direction, and we applaud NASCAR for listening to us," Ince said. "We are halfway there. The rear bumper is optional at Michigan, but you better bet we are going to run it in there.

"I said last week that we were about 200 pounds of downforce behind the Chevrolet and Ford, but I think we are getting closer to them. Will the race fans notice it on the track? I hope so."

Benson, too, liked what he heard.

"We will run whatever they give us," said Benson, who finished 16th, one lap off the pace at the Coca-Cola 600. "The new back bumper should help, but we will just have to wait and see how it is on the track."

The highest-finsihing Pontiac driver at the 600 was Bobby Labonte in second.

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