Friday, May 9, 2008
Updated: May 12, 2:00 PM ET
Gordon challenges NASCAR to examine rear housing
By David Newton
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon would like NASCAR to look into the way Sprint Cup teams are adjusting the rear housing to create a competitive advantage.
The housing has been an issue mainly with Carl Edwards' team at Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards has won three times on 1.5-mile tracks this season and was in position to win a fourth race before late engine woes.
Many in the garage said during testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway earlier this week that the yaw created -- Edwards' car appears to be going sideways on the straightaway, creating more side force heading into the turns -- by turning the rear housing to the right gives Edwards a competitive advantage.
" ... NASCAR knows it's happening," Gordon said on Friday at Darlington Raceway. "They are the ones that see the cars come through inspection. They see it. When cars can't even get on the scales because they're running sideways, it's something they need to address."
Series director John Darby said there are no plans to further police the rear housing adjustment, noting NASCAR already has a rule restricting more than a quarter-inch change plus or minus.
He added that Hendrick Motorsports, for which Gordon drives, was the first to experiment with the rear-housing adjustment on the new car and that Edwards' No. 99 team was one of the last.
"They [complain] when we've got too many rules and then they want us to create more," Darby said of teams in general. "The process is so simple. There are limits on how far they can go."
Gordon admitted teams started finding ways to create more yaw last season, but added, "It's been taken to a whole other level."
"I believe it's something [NASCAR] didn't expect," he said.
Almost every team has tried to duplicate what Edwards has, but not every driver can handle it.
"It makes the cars drive so terrible that it doesn't really help us in any way that we really need it," Gordon said.
Edwards has declined to comment on what his team is doing to create yaw. He was coy about it Friday.
"Yeah, that's exactly what makes my car so fast," he said with a touch of sarcasm. "In fact, when we thought about taking a couple of weekends off, we were gonna go get a monkey to drive the car because it's real easy and that's the only reason we're winning.
"So they should just focus on that and not worry about anything else."
Drivers noticed something different in the way Edwards' car traveled early in the season. Denny Hamlin said it was "yawed" out and could go places he couldn't.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch said Edwards' car is at such an extreme that it looks "stupid going down the straightaway because it's dog-tracking."
"It just doesn't look right," he said. "It is NASCAR's rules. We asked them at the beginning of the year when we started looking at things if they were going to make a rule change on it and they said, 'No, do what you want with it.'
"So everybody kept going that way."
Edwards' team apparently has mastered it better than any other.
"They've got something in the car that makes it do that," Busch said. "The more we've found to make changes to that way, it's made the car go faster.
"It's the way that you use it to your advantage. We found that out in the wind tunnel. The more yaw we can get in the car, obviously the better. Some guys are getting it more than others."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.