New Cup Rules Announced

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NASCAR told Winston Cup teams this week it is making another rules change. The Dodge Intrepid, which came under fire from other manufacturers last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway for taking five of the top seven spots in qualifying for the Pennzoil 400, loses 1 inch of its nose “kickout.”

Also, the Ford Taurus will receive a half-inch kickout of its nose.

The Intrepid received a 2-inch extension of the bottom part of its air dam before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but apparently NASCAR thought that was too much. Ford teams have been among those complaining loudest, and their politicking apparently worked.

“We’re bringing knives to a gunfight,” Ford driver Jeff Burton said after Sunday’s race. “The Dodges and Chevrolets get to you, and they can run up under you and get you loose, but with a Ford when you get behind a guy you’re just screwed. There’s no way you can pass. You can’t pass.”

It remains to be seen if the half-inch extension will help Taurus drivers. Another manufacturer, Pontiac, has also complained, but no changes were made to the aging Grand Prix.

“We are glad to see that NASCAR has taken action on limiting the Dodge advantage,” NASCAR Group Manager for GM Racing Doug Duchardt said. “It still remains unclear why NASCAR would not equalize the entire field, choosing instead to assist Ford.

“Since there has not been a NASCAR wind tunnel test since March, one can only assume that the changes announced (Tuesday) were based on the results seen at the race track. Ford just swept the top four spots in Phoenix two weeks ago, while the last Pontiac win was at Bristol in August, and the only Pontiac win at a high-speed track this entire season was at Pocono in July.

“We know that Joe Gibbs Racing fields two championship-caliber teams and is capable of winning and dominating races. Unfortunately, NASCAR does not appear to be concerned with providing a level playing field for them or any of the other Pontiac Grand Prix teams.”

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