SPARTA, Ky. — When asked why NASCAR only ran the lower downforce package at tracks with a less abrasive surface, Scott Miller said that there were “strategic reasons” for doing so.
Speaking to the media after the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR’s senior vice-president of competition was asked if it would be in the interest of the sanctioning body to add a race with the package at a track with a more abrasive surface, such as Darlington, in the interest of getting a representative sample to continue modifying the package for 2017.
“There were some strategic reasons why we chose to do it the way we did it, and we engaged the entire industry in putting the plan together of when we’re going to do it,” Miller said. “That certainly does make sense, but the timing of that and some testing that we had and a lot of other things‑‑ there’s a lot of things that go into making these decisions and making the schedules, so it just didn’t line up for us to be able to do that in the initial plan.”
The package used in last night’s race was also used in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Both instances were met with reception, from fans and media, with statements such as, “it’s a step in the right direction, but the race itself was meh.” This is in contrast to 2015 where NASCAR ran what would become the 2016 aero package at tracks with more abrasive surfaces such as Kentucky before the repave, and Darlington Raceway.
Miller didn’t rule out this package being used again this season.
“Now, after tonight we’ll go back and we’ll sort of reconvene with the drivers and the owners and the OEMs and decide where we’re going,” he added. “We’re open to a lot of different options, and if something like that bubbles up and we have industry support for it, nothing right now is out of the question.”
He did, however, rule out this package being used in the Chase.
“One thing that I think we won’t do is change the Chase around,” he said. “We’ll stick to our guns and run the 2016‑‑ regular 2016 package in the Chase races.”
He concluded by saying the main objective is to get this package ready for 2017.
“All of this has been geared toward deciding what we’re going to do for 2017 and getting it decided as early as we possibly can, which gives the teams the most runway into next season, which is something that they’ve needed and been asking for, so that’s what we’re striving toward,” he said.