The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

March 5, 2013

Ken de la Bastide: Gen 6 car facing big test

Two races into the Sprint Cup season and the jury remains out on whether the new Gen 6 car is going to improve the racing in NASCAR’s top division.

The Daytona 500 was a single-file parade for most of the race with only a late caution flag setting up side-by-side racing for the victory. What was obvious at Daytona was that the lead car was going to be next to impossible to pass because of the aerodynamics of the new car.

The race at Phoenix also showed that the lead car was going to be difficult to pass, and the Gen 6 car was criticized by several drivers — including third-place finisher Denny Hamlin and defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.

Hamlin commented after the Phoenix race that he “just didn’t pass that many cars” and Keselowski said “it’s harder than ever to pass.”

I will say that the new Gen 6 car is better looking than the so-called “Car of Tomorrow” that didn’t survive all that long.

This weekend’s race at Las Vegas could be a crucial test for the new car. Las Vegas is a 1.5-mile oval, which is the length of many of the tracks the series will compete on later in the year.

If passing proves difficult at Las Vegas or if the lead car has a clear advantage by being in clean air, NASCAR will be forced to make adjustments to the Gen 6 car to make it more competitive.

Fans have been howling for several years that the level of competition in NASCAR has fallen off. At Phoenix there was one green-flag pass for the lead.

I want to be optimistic about how the Gen 6 car will perform at Las Vegas. NASCAR officials have to be honest with their fans. The Gen 6 car is not the “silver bullet” that will cure all the ills of non-competitive racing, but it could be a start in the right direction if the engineers resolve the aerodynamic problems.

The other disappointment at Phoenix was the problem with the right front Goodyear tires. Several drivers’ right front tires blew before completing 70 laps. You would think, with the series visiting twice a year, that the Goodyear tire gurus could provide a competitive tire.

Text Only
Sports
  • Elwood, Liberty Christian advance in county softball tournament The 2014 Madison County Softball tournament got off to a wild start at Liberty Christian on Wednesday night as Elwood and the host Liberty Christian Lions advanced with victories.

    April 17, 2014

  • SPT - HB0417 - Nick Muller - 05 Bulldogs, Indians impress in openers Lapel and Anderson have very different histories in the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament.

    April 16, 2014 5 Photos

  • SPT - HB0417 - Pendleton v Mad Grant 2 Eagles, Arabians move to second round Frankton got off to an uneven start, falling behind 4-3 and 6-4, but rallied for a 14-6 triumph over Alexandria in the first round of the Madison County Softball Tournament here Wednesday. In the second contest, Pendleton Heights topped Madison-Grant 2-1 in a game where both runs and hits were at a premium.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rick Bramwell: Improving weather should aid morels When I looked at my wilted daffodils Tuesday morning, I knew this would be a setback for morels. The long-range forecast through April 29 calls for near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. This is good news for the blacks and grays.

    April 16, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0416 - tennis file - 14 Many girls tennis teams return top talent With spring sports getting off to a good start thanks to some spring-like weather last week, local girls tennis teams are taking to the court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wild week will get later start The busiest week on Madison County's high school sports calendar is going to start a day later than expected.

    April 14, 2014

  • Familiar trio leads boys track teams Much like in years past, Anderson, Lapel and Pendleton Heights have assembled the largest number of track athletes of the area’s 11 high schools. And, while the remaining teams may struggle to compete from a team standpoint, they will send capable athletes to the line to challenge in individual events.

    April 14, 2014

  • New roles, same goals for Arabians

    Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the first 13 years of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament is that no team has repeated as champion.

    April 14, 2014

  • Track stars prepare for numbers game

    Track is a numbers game, not just with times and distances, but with roster sizes as well. Smaller schools often abandon the philosophy of competing for team titles when running against larger schools with nearly double the number of athletes. Instea

    April 14, 2014