Most drivers gave the aero package used in the Monster Energy All-Star Race a passing grade after the 80-lap event.
Martin Truex Jr. didn’t complete the full race but still seemed to enjoy himself. The No. 78 Toyota spent time mixing it up at the front of the field before being collected in a multicar accident near the end of stage three.
“We put on a hell of a show at least while it lasted,” Truex said. “That’s all I can say.”
Denny Hamlin felt the racing was similar to what take places at other 1.5-mile tracks. But he also said drivers had be as smart as on the superspeedways.
“It was a mix of the both and obviously, I thought it was a great show and I thought the racing was fun to watch and be a part of it,” said Hamlin. “We’ll see where it takes us in the future.”
Kyle Larson called the race “pretty fun.” However, he was also hesitant about using the package again.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing it here because Charlotte is probably one of our worst mile-and-a-halfs with our current package, so places like this I think it would be OK,” said Larson. “I would hate for them to do it everywhere, it would get a little tiring going that slow every week. But every now and then, it’s not bad.”
Chase Elliott noted while it was different, it wasn’t all bad.
“I would say the race was really entertaining, but most All-Star races, in my opinion, are really entertaining,” said third-place finisher Joey Logano. “Any time you put a bunch of angry racecar drivers on the racetrack with a million dollars in front of them, we’re going to do some stupid stuff. I think it was a lot of fun. A lot of passing in the pack, it was hard to pass for the lead and once even some of the cars that weren’t as good got the lead it was hard to pass them.
“But, in my opinion, kudos to NASCAR for trying something.”
Fun was also had by Jimmie Johnson. His feedback regarding using this package in the future was reserved, as Johnson said he needed to put a different hat on than that of driver.
“I think we need to look at fan appeal and what the product looked like on television,” he said. “I know there was a lot of competitive passes and passes throughout the field, especially for the lead. As a racecar driver, I’ve always wanted to drive something with more power and go faster and faster.
“I really want to do what’s right for the sport and if the fans like this, I’ll race anything. They can put us in go-karts out here and I’ll race. I’ll be happy with that. I’m going to wait to see what the fans have to say and support NASCAR in whatever decision they make.”
On the flip side, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was one of those who wasn’t a fan. Stenhouse started second but was hardly a factor after the first stage and finished 11th.
“It was way different,” said Stenhouse. “I didn’t like it. I’m sure NASCAR liked it and the fans probably enjoyed it. We were all close. I’m sure I would have liked it if our car drove a lot better, too. It’s hard to tell.”
And Brad Keselowski offered a realistic expectation for the future.
“Give us a few weeks to work on the race cars with a package like this and I’m sure we can mess it up.”