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The experimental rear wings, seen here on two cars racing at Bristol, have been removed from all NASCAR vehicles.Jason Smith

Almost three years to the day a wing first appeared on the back of a Sprint Cup car, NASCAR has tossed it on the trash heap.

After failing to convince fans that they were cool enough for NASCAR, the series' rear-wing experiment ended with the checkered flag at the Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend. It will be replaced by the old-style spoiler starting with practice tomorrow for Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Virginia's Martinsville Speedway on March 29.

NASCAR announced the switch in late-January, although the series said it would conduct tests with cars using the spoiler before making a final decision whether to bring it back this weekend. But it would have been difficult to find anyone in the NASCAR garage who didn't believe the spoiler would be bolted to the trunks of the cars in Martinsville no matter what happened in testing.

The reintroduction of the spoiler comes mostly because NASCAR wanted to make fans happy, and not as a way to increase competition or safety. The wing was introduced as part of the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) package, which made its debut in Bristol in March, 2007.

"I think the majority of the reason the wing is being changed is because of the way it looks - that means I believe the wing could have worked and we've seen that," said Cup driver Jeff Burton.

"If you look at the races - at the end of last year, the middle part on last year, you look at the racing we have seen this year - all those races that we have had that have been really good have been with the wing."

Indeed, most of the teams that participated in a test last week at the Talladega Speedway found that there wasn't much difference between the wing and the spoiler. But in the wing's defence, Kasey Kahne did say it did brought some positive change to the way the cars reacted in certain condition, especially "when your car gets sideways, when it gets loose, the way it helps recover."

"When we change it, it'll be a little different and it'll just take some time to get in those positions and feel out what that spoiler is actually doing to the back of the car."

But fans hoping to see an instant change in the racing will likely be disappointed, especially since the spoiler returns at the almost flat, 0.526-mile short track at Martinsville. The low speeds and close quarters simply don't allow wings or spoilers to be effective in creating downforce.

At Martinsville, "the new spoiler shouldn't make that big a deal because there's not really a lot of aerodynamics there," said Kyle Busch.

"Once we get to places like Texas, Talladega, some other racetracks that are really, really fast, like the All-Star Race at Charlotte, the 600 there, too, it should bring out hopefully what the drivers were looking for, that's a better ability to run side-by-side and produce some better racing."

On the other hand, some drivers point to the fact that many series have tried to increase excitement on many occasions and there are always unexpected results.

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon feels the return of the spoiler should be no different.

"It's interesting when you go through our different series and go back in time, and when it was harder to pass people said, 'Oh, well there's not as much passing, and the races at Talladega weren't exciting,'" he said.

"Now it's really easy to pass, and you look at the [NASCAR Camping World]Truck Series and say, 'Wow, look at these races they put on.'

"It is really easy to pass, and then because it's a 500-mile race, we get single file through the middle of the race trying to make it 500 miles, and then it's a boring race."

The spoiler's reappearance may not be the only change to the CoT, which was introduced three years ago as a safer racing platform for the series.

A couple of serious flips by drivers who found themselves turned backward may force NASCAR to redesign the rear section of the car. The most recent incident happened three weeks ago in Atlanta where Brad Keselowski got airborne after being spun by another driver and somersaulted into the catch fence before landing back on the track.

"Obviously the 12 car [Keselowski]getting airborne to us is a much more serious topic right now," NASCAR president Mike Helton said earlier this month. "A lot of our effort ... is figuring out how it happened, why it happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening in the future."

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