" The CoT will debut this weekend, what kind of race are we going to have? A good one. Here’s why: they could be driving school buses at Bristol and it would still be a good race because it is the track that makes it a good race and not the car. This is why NASCAR put the first CoT race there so they can say, "What a great race! The CoT is a great car and did everything we expected it to do. Look at us aren’t we great!" They are setting themselves up for success in the public eye by running the CoT at Bristol, it would have been more interesting to see it run for the first time at an intermediate track instead so we could really see what it was like with some drafting and higher speeds." - source Bob Ellis at The Pit Stop
To be honest with you I can't help to agree with him on this, for several reasons, the most important being that NASCAR is indeed setting themselves up for success by running the CoT at Bristol, where areodynamics isn't a major factor on the outcome of the race. The car can be beat to heck and as long as the 4 wheels are still aligned right and the motor is stout you can still have yourself a good finish.
Now with that being said, I still have no objection to the CoT in principle, just as long as it does what it supposed to do and that is to better protect the driver in the event of a crash. NASCAR could mandate that all teams must run a pink paint scheme with the CoT and I wouldn't care, just as long as it lives up to the expectations of driver safety. For a complete explanation of the CoT go to my Jan 2nd post located here where I went into great detail regarding the differences between the current 'Car of Today' and the CoT.
Now the CoT is made to absorb crashes with built-in crush-zones, unlike the car Dale Earnhardt was driving at Daytona when he died (Marc at Full Throttle does a good job explaining crush-zones) but I still think that the CoT will be able to withstand a 'little rubbin'' from time to time at Bristol. I would imagine that if one the cars gets hit hard enough for it to crumple up just a tad, then that same hit would have been hard enough to do enough damage to the 'car of today' to hinder its on track performance as well.
Another thing that the CoT has going for it is that all the teams seem to be on the same playing field for this race. Ya, sure each team will still have their own performance packages to put on the cars, but it remains a fact that they are all driving new unraced cars for this race. This could either be viewed as a pro or a con depending on how far along you are after testing.
One thing is for certain, the CoT is here to stay and whether we like it or not that's a fact so we may as well get used to it because the Car of Tomorrow is about to become the Car of Today, and the current Car of Today is about to become history.
Photo Credits: Car of Tomorrow - Motorsport.com, Getty Images, and the Edsel - Foxsports