Staying away from commenting on the rules package at Kentucky Speedway has been tough, but seeing what the long-term reaction might be was more important. From my eyes, it appeared that the racing at Kentucky was better than the previous races at the Sparta, Kentucky track. The statistics bear that out and the eye test was overwhelmingly positive. Drivers loved it and all the slipping and sliding was entertaining to most fans.
The problem NASCAR was trying to fix was the seemingly impossible task of passing on the mile and a half tracks. Many fans and drivers saw the same thing. Once a driver gained clean air, it was almost impossible to pass near the front. The package seemed to have worked, but NASCAR is still working on the final package. The sanctioning body gets a high mark for this experiment. Fans can only hope that a similar package will be instituted next year.
This week, another rules package will be tried at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This package is described as a high drag package. Since NASCAR has been going to the Brickyard, boring races have been the rule. IMS is narrow and huge, allowing those with the perfect setup to run away and hide. We’ve seen that for years. This package should delete that phenomenon and make racing closer and allow more passing. We will soon see this weekend. If IndyCars can put on a great, and many argue, a better show on Memorial Day weekend than at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it was time for some changes to be made.
The success of the Kentucky package and if the Indy package is even more successful, means that things could be very exciting for this weekend’s race. The Brickyard race should be special during the NASCAR schedule. For years through tire problems and bland racing, attendance has been horrid. There’s no doubt that the mere size of the venue causes much of that feeling, but race attendance has been shrinking for the once named Brickyard 400. Losing this event would be devastating to NASCAR.
Will the new packages be used in The Chase? That is a good question. Though statements have been made saying that the changes are for 2016, with the much-improved racing at Kentucky and with the number of mile and a half tracks in The Chase, NASCAR will be tempted to make the change for the final 10 races. Time will tell and we should know soon, but if it gives us better racing and more passing, it’s a no-brainer. Watching Brad Keselowski’s pit crew make mistake after mistake and seeing Keselowski get back to the front each time was enough for me to endorse that package. Hopefully, the Indy package will give us more of the same. That’s a win-win for everyone.