Ford Wins Key Aero Concession
January 25, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
The 6 ¼ inch high rear spoiler is the same as the Chevrolets had run in testing, with Chevys consistently at the top of the speed charts during both sessions. Dodge and Pontiacs will still run a 6.5 inch high rear spoiler. All three makes run spoilers that are 57 inches wide.
When the historically most successful Ford teams (Yates and Roush) were posting slow times at the Daytona tests compared to the other makes, there were many allegations the Ford teams were "sandbagging", not running as fast as they could, in order to get a concession similar to the one announced today.
After testing officially concluded, NASCAR allowed Rusty Wallace (#2 Penske Ford) and Andy Hillenburg (Filling in in the #28 Yates Ford while Ricky Rudd recovers from back surgery) to take three more runs with the 6 ¼ inch spoiler to gauge how much faster it would make the cars. While no official numbers were released from the "add on" test, Wallace reported his car was about 3.3 seconds a lap faster than with the 6.5 inch rear spoiler. Considering the "new" rules are very similar to 2000 when Dale Jarrett led a Ford rout of the Daytona 500, it remains to be seen how much faster the Fords will be when they arrive at Daytona in race trim.
Ideal spoiler height (and angle) is very different at the two plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) than at the rest of the Winston Cup tracks. At most tracks teams actually want more spoiler to increase downforce which allows the cars to stick better in the corners. At Daytona and Talladega with the restricted engines, teams don't want too much downforce which in turn increases drag and slows the cars down. The much debated front valance kickout measurements will not play a part at Daytona, where most teams run the valance straight up and down to lower drag.