Motorsport Weekly Blog Week 2; Aerodynamics In NASCAR: The Famous Aero Wars, The Lost Aero War Car, and The Not Well Known Aero Wars

The Aero Wars

It’s 1970, and NASCAR has turned into a war-zone. After 2 consecutive championships with David Person, Ford was on the top of the world. That is, until Chrysler dreamed up the “Winged Warriors” in late 1969, making a debut at Talladega. Dodge and Plymouth dominated the 1970 Season with the Superbird and Charger Daytona, with Bobby Issac winning the championship. Meanwhile, Ford and Chrysler were taking a loss in the showroom, for differing reasons. Chrysler was taking a loss because of the amount of money put into the Winged cars and how few were being sold. Ford was taking a loss because they were losing on the racetrack. Every week it seemed a Chrysler product was standing in victory lane. The cars looked crazy, and the on track products were migrating away from what they looked like in the showroom. NASCAR had to do something.

The "End" of the Aero Wars

Yes, there is a Daytona in that picture, let me elaborate. For the 1971 Season, NASCAR made a new rule that, in a nutshell, said that all Winged Cars had to have an engine size reduction. So the Dodge Daytona, Plymouth Superbird, Mercury Spoiler II and the Ford Torino Talladega were not allowed to run anything over a 305ci. The grid for the 1971 Daytona 500 looked entirely different than the year before! Richard (Other name, thanks inappropriate word filter) Brooks was the only competitor in a Winged Car. He led laps early but was taken out in an accident later. Everyone else was in 2nd Gen Chargers and Roadrunners, Monte Carlos, Pontiac LeMans, and even some Chevelles! Everyone was trying to find what worked best for the season ahead. It turned out to be Plymouth, with Richard Petty taking the championship that year.

The Torino King Cobra

This car, was what Ford had developed to take down Chrysler, but with the new rules, they scrapped the project. The cars sat in a Ford showroom in Charlotte, North Carolina for almost a year, until Bud Moore, a NASCAR team owner, came in to pick up a Mustang, and saw the only 2 King Cobras in existence, asked how much they were, and the dealership said “Take them.” Thus, both of these cars have surfaced and have been sold in the last 5 years. Each for over $500,000 (USD).

The Not Well Known Aero Wars

The year is 1986, and Ford is dominating yet again in NASCAR with the Thunderbird (At least on the Superspeedways) with Bill Elliott. Instead of Chrysler riding to the challenge, GM did. The Monte Carlos were pretty much boxes on the Superspeedways, instead of the slick, aerodynamic Thunderbird. So, the Monte Carlo/Pontiac 2+2 Aerocoupes were born.

The car’s rear window was reshaped to be more aerodynamic, but it was to no avail, at least temporarily. Refer to my last article about restrictor plates. But, the Aerocoupes shined on the “Plate” tracks. With at least 2 Monte Carlos or 2+2’s until 1989, where the Monte Carlo was replaced mid-season with the Lumina.

Why Does This Matter Now?

Aero Wars are still going on today in NASCAR, but not with manufacturers against each other, but against the air. “Aero Push” has been a massive issue in NASCAR since the coming of the “COT (Article Coming Next Week)” and the “Gen-6” NASCAR race cars. Aero Push causes the car following another to lose all front grip and make it nearly impossible to pass. This made last year’s NASCAR season one of the worst in the series’ history, causing a massive reduction of downforce and overall grip for this season, which has gotten great reviews from fans.

What are your favorite “Aero War” cars? Comment below and follow for a weekly NASCAR/Motorsport article each week!


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