Absent any better ideas, most Monster Energy Cup drivers seem content with NASCAR’s decision to use next month’s All-Star Race at Charlotte to test a new aero package.
Even the most vocal critic of the move, Kyle Busch, admits he doesn’t have a better idea.
“I don’t have any better ideas than any that are being thrown out there. I can’t complain if I don’t have any better ideas,” Busch said Friday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “The fact of the matter is that we’re trying to orchestrate something that doesn’t quite exist.
“The trucks sometimes put on a good race, they’re obviously more aerodynamically challenged and such when you come up on a guy, but from what I understand, what they’re shooting for is 165 (mph) and that’s way slower than a truck runs.
“That’s going to bunch us up even more as far as the Cup guys go I would imagine. We’ll see what it creates, I don’t know what it’s going to create.”
NASCAR will utilize an aero package first used with much success last year in the Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which produced a record number of leaders and lead changes.
The package features aero ducts on the front end of the car, a restrictor-plate and a taller rear spoiler.
Busch participated in the Xfinity race at Indy last year and expressed his displeasure with the package at the time. On Friday, he also acknowledged the challenges NASCAR faces trying to improve the racing product.
“I'm not a particular fan of it but we certainly do need to orchestrate some better races at mile-and-a-half tracks, particularly Charlotte,” he said. “For some reason, it hasn't been one of our best race tracks there since the repave with working multiple lanes; it’s been pretty single-file there for a long time.”
Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said he believed “there’s really nothing to lose” by giving the Xfinity package a try.
“It might not be the package we love and want, but I’m sure it will get us a step closer and we'll continue to evolve,” he said. “Largely because so many people are willing to take this chance at the All-Star Race.”
Most drivers simply didn’t know what to expect in the race with the new aero package, rather relying on what they saw take place at Indy last season.
“The racing on TV came across better. I think we will have the same effect probably for the Cup Series at Charlotte,” Larson said. “I don’t think it will be any more exciting for us in the seat because it will be a lot slower, but I think it will come across on TV and in the grandstands a lot better.
“NASCAR is always trying to please the fans and I think this is a step to make the racing come across as more exciting.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. thinks if anything, the racing should be a lot closer.
“I do think that when you reduce the speeds the handling isn’t as big of an issue and so I think the racing will be probably a little more intense,” he said. “We’ll just have to see how the fans like it.
“I think that’s the biggest thing we want to do is to make sure the fans enjoy our races and, however that may be, I think is something we need to look at.”