Dale Jr discussed the NASCAR splitter and offers an alternative
This week and the Dale Jr download, things got technical. The #88 driver went into a bit of a rant while asking for the removal of the modern NASCAR splitter.
He began, “We didn’t take the route that NASCAR needs to build a brand new racecar. If I’d a known Brad was gunna go that crazy after the race I woulda probably been a little more vocal on social media.”
“I would have liked to have heard Brad maybe clarify and get a little more specific about exactly what he doesn’t like about the car.”
I hate the splitter
-Dale Earnhardt Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr doesn’t like a few things on the NACSAR racecar, “I know that I have options about the car. I hate the splitter. It’s awful.”
Where did this splitter come from anyway? Dale Jr explains the root, “In my opinion, the splitter came with the wing. That was strictly an attempt to limit travel with the splitter. Because what we had been doing with our previous racecars was traveling them so much that the fenders were laying on top of the tires.
“Guys were blowin’ out tires because the fender strap would tear the top of the tire off. Or wear into the tire, wear a groove in the tire.”
“I’d come into the pits sometimes and see a groove in my tire. I’d be like ‘Tony Jr, you know? What the hell? Get this thing off the ground a little bit so I don’t blow the right front tire out.’ Cause you’re literally playing with fire.”
“So, I understand that the splitter was a little bit there for limiting travel. But I always thought that the wing and the splitter was a desperate attempt to sorta grasp at the younger demographic.”
“These guys, these kids that are putting all these wings and splitters all over the car. If you go to NASCAR Tech [NASCAR Technical Institute] and watch these kids leave, they all got wings. They’ll be a wing on anything. They’ll put a wing on any car.”
“NASCAR finally gave up on it. Gave up on the wing at least and went back to the old spoiler which had worked so well for the last 75 years. But they will not give up on this splitter. I don’t know what it is about this damn splitter?”
“I’ve never liked it. I don’t like driving a car with it on there. I don’t like driving a car that’s sliding across the racetrack on the splitter. It’s not fun.”
“What the splitter does is it makes every car and every team live in the same place. We all set our cars up to run right on top of the ground with that splitter. It equalizes the field because we all run the same travel. We all set our cars up pretty much with the same wheel rates in the front end, to run right across the ground with that splitter.”
That’s not conducive to passing
“That’s why the cars, I think, are so similar in speed. From 1st to 25th, there’s not a lot of speed disparity there. That’s not conducive to passing. When you have the valence that was grinding off, or not grinding off, depending on the how you had the car setup.”
“Guys were living in a much bigger window as far as travel and setup. You had 2 inches or so difference in travel between 1 guy and another guy. That would have the cars running differently and handling differently.
“With the splitter, everybody goes to the splitter and stops and stays there. Every car! So, every car is the exact same in the corner. So, all the cars are going to run similar speeds.”
NASCAR’s splitter photographer
This weekend at Kentucky Speedway Dale Earnhardt Jr was on the radio complaining to his crew that his splitter was not on the ground. He explains, “That’s a huge fail if your splitter is not on the ground. Everybody wants to be right on the ground. That’s where the best aerodynamics are going to be found.”
“There’s a guy designated to take pictures of all the cars going around the track. They’re sent to the notebook of the engineers. We can look at pictures of our car in the corner, at several different positions in the corner. This guy is literally just taking pictures of cars as they go around the corner.”
“Lap after lap after lap after lap. So, we can look at pictures of every car and see where they are in travel. Not just the front splitter, the side skirts and everything. It gives us an idea of maybe what the guys are doing for rear springs. There’s a difference in the rear heights that you can run.”
“So if he’s looking at the pictures and see’s that the splitter is not on the ground. That’s a huge red flag.”