NASCAR & Auto Racing

What COT has done on the track confirms things, NASCAR's John Darby says

Now that NASCAR’s car of tomorrow is making its second stop at tracks like Bristol and Richmond, it’s easy to see how much progress has been made by the Cup teams.

“I think it’s not as much (of) what we’ve learned as it is of confirming (it),” Nextel Cup director John Darby said.

“We’ve spent, obviously, a multiple of years developing and testing the new car, and for all of the right reasons. And what we’re doing now is confirming a lot of those (reasons). The car is a very safe car.”

But Darby said the COT also lends itself to great competition on the race track.

“The one that sticks out in my mind the most very recently was (at) Watkins Glen,” Darby said.

“(It was) at the exit of the inner loop with a car in the grass on each side of the racetrack and one in the middle and all three drivers coming out of the corner and still under control.

“And those are the kind of things that I think the old car may have been a little bit too fragile to withstand. And, as we go forward, the drivers are understanding that the new car is a little more robust, which allows them to approach the competition of the race, I guess, a little bit differently.

“They can, in fact, race a little harder,” he added.

The COT, which is being raced 16 times this season, will be used for all 36 Cup races in 2008.

“I think everybody, the majority of the garage even, among all of us at NASCAR, are really looking forward to next year,” Darby said.