NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said Saturday morning there is “good momentum” on talk within the industry about using the All-Star Race package again this year.
Fan feedback was positive after last month’s $1 million exhibition race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, O’Donnell said. The 21-car field remained closer together than normally seen on a mile-and-a-half track and produced an uptick in passing.
The package includes restrictor plates, front aero ducts, the 2014-style splitter and a six-inch spoiler with ears on both sides.
According to O’Donnell, the discussion has focused on where else to roll out the package. Michigan International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been the two tracks repeatedly mentioned, and O’Donnell didn’t rule out those possibilities or any other facility.
“Our goal is to put on the best race and so we want to do that where it makes the most sense,” O’Donnell told Fox Sports 1. “I think the goal for all of us is to look at one or two, possibly three events where we could really evaluate this for 2018 and see if that’s a direction we want to pursue further for 2019.”
The Xfinity Series is using the package this weekend at Pocono Raceway and will also use it again next weekend at Michigan International Speedway. It was originally rolled out at Indianapolis last summer to widespread praise.
A decision on expanding its use in the Cup Series will be made when O’Donnell feels everyone has had enough time to look at the package and evaluate the data.
Asked what the biggest challenge will be in using another package this year, O’Donnell said first is ensuring what gets put on the racetrack is an improvement for the fans.
“That’s what we all want to do,” O’Donnell answered. “Second, making sure when everyone rolls in the garage they feel we’re on a level playing field as possible – the OEMs, engine builders, race teams.
“And the team who puts the most into that still has the best chance to win. If we can do all those things, that’s what we’ll do and put it out on the track.”