Geoff’s Journal: Thoughts on aero package, Daytona and racing
Photo by Jeremy Thompson/

By Geoff Bodine
Driver Analyst
July 1, 2016

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

We are almost halfway done with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and this season continues to impress.

The race to the Chase thus far has been pretty exciting. There's been excitement, different winners and controversy.

Most of the races have been very exciting, as we've seen some photo finishes.

There's pressure to perform well every week. It doesn't matter if a driver races for a winning team or a 30th place team.

The old adage "money buys speed" applies in the Sprint Cup garage because money can buy engineers, testing, all the latest and greatest equipment.

Aero Packages
Back in the 1980s, Sprint Cup racing was so much different than today.

We didn't have much downforce. We were using manufacturer's cars, the parts off of the fenders. Of course, they had to be made to fit the tires.

The front bumpers, the grilles, everything, were off a production car, and you could recognize what the car was on the racetrack.

The cars today have different grilles and maybe the side windows, but shape, sides, width and height are all the same.

We used a lot of stock components and it didn't have a lot of downforce. What some fans may not know is that the manufacturers would try to build a little better street car so it could translate to a better racecar. It was really fun.

Teams could also be a little innovative  and were able to make changes to the racecars, the Sprint Cup rule book wasn't as strict as it is today.

Engineers today try to squeeze out every ounce of speed in a car. Back in the day of Earnhardt and I, our engineers were out butts. What we felt was what we got, but it made it fun. It really put the driver in the driver's seat and part of the whole equation.

Today, downforce is balanced, there’s wind tunnels, and all of that is great. I’d almost like to be driving in this era or racing, but it was great to race in the 1980s because of the opportunity to innovate. We could find ways to make the body better, a little more downforce, a little less drag on the speedways, balance all of that, and you could come up with a little advantage.

Today, it’s hard for teams to do any of that, but the racing is close.

In a way, the rules package this year has gone back to the 1980s. They’re going “backwards,” if you will, and it’s cool. NASCAR’s taken downforce away from the cars and the racing has gotten better because the driver now has to wheel the car more.

What to expect from Daytona
What's great about restrictor plate racing is we could see a team currently not inside the Chase cutline punch a ticket to NASCAR's post-season with a win. The Saturday night race in Daytona July 2 will provide that opportunity.

The equalized racing will produce large packs and the potential for large wrecks.

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/
You can bank on at least one multi-car accident happening because of how close in proximity the cars race against each other. When it comes down to the end, the pressure really gets turned up. It's bound to happen, drivers and spotters will make mistakes.

An underdog driver could have a greater chance to win the race if they can avoid a large wreck, if it occurs.

Personally, I love watching this style of racing, and I'm brutally honest; I love watching to see who screws up and causes a wreck, because I've been in them.

I want to make something clear: I don't wish for any competitor to wreck, but I'm being honest, I'm waiting to see whoever causes a problem, makes a mistake, and then we all talk about them. It's easy to criticize people, but let's be honest race fans, you love to see the wrecks.

Getting back behind-the-wheel
I’m okay with not driving a racecar anymore, but I never lost the confidence about being able to drive. I know I’m 67.

If I was ever offered a ride in any of NASCAR’s top-three touring series, I’d have to have two or three months to get in shape. All the drivers right now are in good physical shape, and when I drove, I was in good shape. But I’m not in good enough shape right now to go out and drive for 400 or 500 miles.

Give me a few months, and I’ll work hard to get there.

Could I go out there and race? I don’t know, but probably not. There’s so much youth, different cars and different setups. It would be a learning curve for me.

Geoff Bodine

I’m happy watching and being where I’m at. I have a great family, great wife, and I don’t need to be driving anymore.

What’s interesting is there’s a tremendous more amount of money involved in the sport today compared to when I was driving full-time. If I could just race one year now, I could potentially make more now than my whole career.

But that isn’t what makes you truly happy in life, at least not for me. As long as you have faith and your health, enjoy the time you have on this  Earth.

I’ve told my family, I’m not a philosopher (maybe I am) about life, but what I like to say is “Use it, don’t misuse it.” This is our only chance down here. That’s what I try to do, and I think it’s working.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have any questions about the NASCAR industry? Ask below, and we may have Geoff answer your question in a future installment of "Geoff’s Journal.")

Will Daytona feature a first-time 2016 winner?
Quiz Maker