Nascar to Implement Use of Cot Next Season

By: Mike Bartley

In a tragic accident at the 2001 Daytona 500 cost Dale Earnhardt Sr. his life and the sport of stock car racing has lost one of its best drivers. After that disastrous incident, the governing body of the Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR, has worked on making the sport safer for drivers. They have implemented the use of head-and-neck restraints to protect drivers in the unfortunate case of crashes.

NASCAR also went to great lengths and is supervising the installation of soft walls around tracks. Most of all, the sanctioning body has worked on the development of a universal body template for all cars competing in the NASCAR races. The template is used to ensure equality among cars and to promote safety. The race car is called the Car of Tomorrow or CoT and it is designed primarily for the safety of drivers.

The original plan for the CoT is for it to be slowly introduced to NASCAR races and will be the sole car that will be used come the 2009 season. Recently though, NASCAR announced that the CoT will be used exclusively starting with the 2008 season. This announcement came after teams have expressed their concern about the impracticality of maintaining two different cars for the current season and for the next year.

Robin Pemberton, the NASCAR's vice president of competition, has this to say about the full implementation of the CoT next season: "We are proud of how the new car has performed at multiple tracks. NASCAR, with the support of team owners, agreed that the new car is ready to compete at all NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events in 2008. Beginning next year the Car of Tomorrow is officially 'the car,' a Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota." Originally, NASCAR planned to race the CoT for only 26 races next season. But due to the cost of maintaining two cars, the current car and the CoT, team owners and drivers alike are keen to the idea of using the Car of Tomorrow full time for the 2008 season. These cars are deemed safer than passenger cars, even those equipped with .

As for the driver-friendliness of the Car of Tomorrow, drivers have been expressing their willingness to race the CoT full time next season. Jeff Green, one of the drivers who seem to be at ease with the CoT, has this to say: "As far as the racing, to me the COT puts things back into the driver's hands more. With the cars we're using now, either you hit the setup or you miss it. If you miss it, there's not a lot a driver can do to make up for that. With the COT, even if the setup's not perfect, a driver can still make things happen and have a good run. It reminds me of the way the cars drove six or seven years ago. I like that, and I'm excited to get back to that."

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