NASCAR officials liked what they saw of the new aero package in Saturday night’s All-Star Race but aren’t ready to instantly promote its wide-spread use.
That may be disappointing to some fans, many of whom thought the racing produced at Charlotte Motor Speedway was some of the best they’ve seen on a 1.5-mile track in the Cup series.
“Directionally you do like some of the things you see and now you’ve got to get together with the industry, debrief like we always do with the race teams, drivers, certainly listen to the tracks and the fans, and then the (manufacturers),” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said following the event.
“We’ll talk about how do we continue to look at this, look at this in a smart way, look at it in an efficient way. Can’t really put a timetable on it other than we’ve got some meetings set up that were contingent upon what we saw tonight.
“Those will take place, and then we’ll try to put a timeline together to look toward 2019.”
The aero package, which features front air ducts, restrictor-plates, a larger rear spoiler and splitter used on 2014 cars, debuted on the track last season in the Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It will be used in three Xfinity races this season – Indy, Pocono and Michigan.
The All-Star Race was the first use of the package on Cup series cars and its first use on a track smaller than 2.5 miles in length.
Still, the results were obvious.
There were 38 green-flag passes for the lead Saturday night compared to none in last year’s race. In fact, there were more green-flag passes for the lead Saturday night then in the previous four all-star event combined.
There were multiple occasions of three and even four-wide racing at some points in both the all-star event and the preliminary Monster Open race.
“From an eye test, we were certainly pleased with what we saw. You don’t want to assume that what you put on track is going to be a home run. We certainly hoped it would be, but there’s certainly some things that you look at that you could tweak if you went this route,” O’Donnell said.
“For us, we’ve got to take the time, be smart about this, really look at it, see where we can go from here. But I think it's fair to say that this is something we absolutely want to look at.”
Asked if it were possible the aero package could be used in the Cup series again this season, O’Donnell said:
“I would never say never, but our intent is we’ve talked coming into this, was to try this here, then really take a deep dive into how do we make this the best package possible for 2019 if we liked what we saw
“Again, it’s still very early. We have to digest a lot of information and see where we go from there.”