According to the eye test, the Monster Energy All-Star Race aero package passed the test.
But NASCAR knows the work is not done, and if this package is going to stick around there is feedback and tweaking to dig into. That was one of the main points from NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell late Saturday night.
“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 OEMs,” O’Donnell said of trying to integrate this for the 2019 rules package.
“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.”
For those who will want to see the package used again soon, O’Donnell admitted never say never. However, the plan has always been to use it at Charlotte, then dig in for the future.
The reaction from the NASCAR tower was subdued during the race, but O’Donnell revealed there were differences from last year to Saturday night. Marcus Smith, general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, has a suite next to the NASCAR booth.
Last year, the All-Star Race “was fairly silent,” said O’Donnell.
“Don’t know if everybody stood or was even still there. [Tonight] it was packed, we heard screaming in the suite next to us. People were enthused, and I think the one thing is, you saw Kevin Harvick go out there and win and he certainly dominated this year. But you didn’t know who was going to win that race in Turn 3, and you saw drivers out there competing, you saw three lead changes in one lap at the end of the third stage. A lot of drama built in and for us in race control, you certainly saw things every lap that you wanted to watch in a number of spots on the racetrack.”
Smith called Saturday a phenomenal day, beginning with practice all the way through the Open and All-Star Race. Furthermore, he said it was the best racing seen on a 1.5-mile track in many years.
“It was a lot of fun to watch,” said Smith. “There are rumors there was actual cheering in the press box tonight. That’s unheard of and I think fantastic. We had a great time, it was so much fun to watch.
“Fans were not using their seats. They were on their feet cheering all night. You could hear the fans cheering above the cars. It was an awesome night I think by all accounts.”