Another week, another discussion about the rules package after another race of driver complaints. Many folks know that I am not the biggest fan of Kyle Busch, but at the same time I do respect what he has to say when he gets vocal. The fact that he is also speaking up for his fellow competitors, some of which he certainly doesn’t see eye-to-eye with, shows he wants to be a leader of the group.
When he came out last week and complained about the rules package, and went as far as saying NASCAR’s higher-ups do not listen to the drivers, that opens up ears and eyes literally instantly.
Maybe to an extent he does have a point. NASCAR in an effort to promote more side-by-side racing developed this package based on what was used at the All-Star Race a season ago. There’s no fins on either side of the spoiler, but it is a very tall spoiler compared to just a season ago. It has a feel of back in 2014 when the Gen-6 car was just a year old, and this package is one that’s hoping to lead to more things with the upcoming Gen-7 piece. But, what caught me particularly is that Busch was talking about how the ones making the decisions are ones that are not the ones at the track, much less at the wheel.
Maybe he does have a point because let’s be honest, over the last decade we’ve seen a decline in NASCAR overall, from ticket sales to merchandise, ratings and reviews.
Every effort to try and make this sport grow at the same time is also making it harder to watch, so Rowdy is on the right track.
You add in the fact the package that NASCAR is using has similarities to 2014 with the tall spoiler, but also similar ideas to a two-race package used in 2015 at both Indy and Michigan, and you start to understand why some drivers and teams are frustrated. Last weekend’s race at Dover proved that it was harder to pass than previous years. Then, when drivers are showing concerns of being “too fast” for the track, it’s staggering.
Corner speeds at Dover were 10% higher than last year, and although that may not seem like much, in the car that is enormous, and it made it hard to work through the field to get better positioning.
Even Martin Truex Jr, who came from the back to win, said it was harder to pass.
Now we’re at Kansas, similar to Las Vegas earlier this year, and this package is going to mean a lot more drafting, a lot more using positioning, but also maybe more difficulty in getting around the field.
I am not exactly keen on this rules package, mainly because of the difficulty to pass, but on the upside there is no more talk about games in qualifying. But, what is being talked about is the fact that there’s so much downforce again, it is more about being in the right spot at the right moment, combined with driver ability. When there’s less downforce, it’s all about what the driver can do at the wheel. That now is harder from in the car because all the driver can do is adjust the way they drive. There is no more on-board track bar adjustment dial, meaning once in the seat, you’re stuck with what you have until the next pit stop.
Kansas is the last race before we see the new “exhibition” package next week for the All-Star Race, so hopefully there will be not as much complaints and disgust, and more triumphs and burnouts.