Kyle Busch admits he doesn’t have any better ideas than what is being thrown about when it comes to trying to improve the racing on mile-and-a-half tracks. But that doesn’t mean he likes the rules package that NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway will use next month in the All-Star Race.
Busch offered a lengthy response Friday afternoon when asked about the package, which includes restrictor plates, aero ducts and a six-inch spoiler – a package Busch experienced while running the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis last season.
And it’s a package NASCAR will be closely watching to see if they might use it again at some point at 1.5-mile tracks.
“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,” said Busch. “For some reason, it hasn’t been one of our best racetracks there since the repave with working multiple lanes; it’s been pretty single-file there for a long time. I don’t know why. You would think with age the asphalt would continue to get better and better; it just hasn’t. So, we continue to bring out more things to try.
“I’m not a particular fan of slowing the lead car down and bringing that guy back to the rest of the field. But if that’s what’s going to create some action and closer racing, then so be it. But as far as us having to do that every single week and continuing onto next year, now I’ve got to give it a chance first at Charlotte to see what it’s like before I completely throw it out, but that’s not what I signed up to be a NASCAR driver for, to continue to scrunch the field up and take advantages away from those guys who are fast.”
Kyle Larson said he does not know what to expect on May 19. However, he did see that the Indianapolis race last year looked good on TV, and that will be the hope for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
From a driver’s standpoint, Larson isn’t sure the package will be any more exciting because the speeds will be slower. NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell, the executive vice president and chief racing development officer, expects the package to result in a 15 mph decrease.
“But I think it will come across on TV and in the grandstands a lot better,” said Larson. “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. anticipates the racing being closer in the All-Star Race. The Roush Fenway Racing driver also said the biggest variable to look at is how the fans react.
Four-time All-Star Race winner Jimmie Johnson applauded NASCAR and CMS officials for the decision. The All-Star Race, said Johnson, is a great place for things to be tried out.
“In talking to the Xfinity guys that ran the package at Indy, I think Indy might serve that package better with the long straightaways to be able to take advantage of the way the aero works on the car, but let’s try,” said Johnson. “I mean, why not?
“There’s really nothing to lose. 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. Largely because so many people are willing to take this chance at the All-Star Race.”
In the last five All-Star races, there have only been two green-flag passes for the lead in the final segment.