Consensus in NASCAR is difficult to obtain.
But after last weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway and a test at Chicagoland Speedway, drivers in the Sprint Cup Series appear to agree NASCAR’s approach to new aerodynamic rules packages is a significant improvement.
In addition to the new rules package for the Kentucky race, a dozen drivers took part in testing earlier this week at Chicagoland that included a similar low-downforce package.
“I’m game for all the changes they’re doing,” said Greg Biffle, who is 18th in the series standings entering Sunday’s 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“Just from being behind the wheel at Kentucky, that was probably one of the best races that I’ve been in, in a long time, because we were able to do things we couldn’t do with the car before.”
We were able to do things we couldn’t do with the car before.
Greg Biffle, 18th in the Cup standings
With a team that is struggling this season, Biffle said it is difficult to navigate through the changes NASCAR is implementing. But he believes the results are worth the effort.
“It’s hard for us to manage that moving target, but at the same time, we understand that this is all changing around,” he said. “I think it’s a definitely a bold idea, and with the way these cars are, it gives us that opportunity to have the splitter and the spoiler and be able to adjust those fairly easily to change the package around.”
Drivers who performed well at Kentucky, including race winner Kyle Busch, had high praise for the rules package.
The end result – producing a product that continues to pique the interest of fans – is the most important objective, Busch said.
“I feel like NASCAR has done a really good job of trying some different things,” he said. “And to do it in the middle of the season, I don’t know that they’ve ever done that before. It just shows that we all have a job to do, NASCAR included.
“The Kentucky race I felt was like an A-plus. Besides all being closer together, you could have put on a better race, but I thought that the finish – I thought the excitement around the race was pretty good.”
The Kentucky race I felt was like an A-plus.
Kyle Busch, the Kentucky winner, on the new rules package
NASCAR will stick with its current rules package this weekend at New Hampshire, a flat, 1-mile oval more similar to Martinsville than the intermediate tracks for which the rules packages were primarily designed.
The next rules-package change – featuring higher drag and with it perhaps more “pack racing” – comes next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Biffle prefers a “wait and see” approach to next week’s race.
“What’s going to be the determining factor is can you get enough of a run … or be close enough to the leader in the dirty air with the big spoiler to pay off by the end of the straightaway,” he said.
“When I first started going there, if you didn’t feel like you could get around him, you were going to get passed by the guy behind you. I’m going to reserve my opinion until afterward.”