New NASCAR Xfinity Series aero package led to a race-record 16 lead changes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
There’s no doubt that the new NASCAR Xfinity aero package led to some impressive stats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A race-record 16 lead changes across a race-record 8 different drivers.
It was an exciting race and an exciting finish. At the same time, cautions weren’t needed to enhance the excitement level. The race did that on it’s own. It wasn’t gimmicky.
It was racing. Pure racing.
“When you look at the metrics, it’s the most leaders we’ve had, most lead changes, closest finish. So certainly on the quick recap, some really great metrics,” Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, said afterward.
“But, you know, as we said before, there’s a lot for us to digest, to go back, talk to the teams. … We’ve got to do the same thing with drivers, crew chiefs, and see where we’re at and kind of evaluate and go from there.”
The NASCAR executive describes the challenge, “This is one that’s gone back awhile. You know, a lot of dialogue. Our folks at the R&D center and engineering group, running a lot of different scenario’s. Different data.”
It’s been tried before, “This dates back to even when we tried some things at Michigan and Indy in the past and didn’t get the results we wanted.”
“One of the things we always looked at, was the power in the racecars. And could that play into this as well? We elected at that time, not to go down that path.”
He concluded, “But thought that the combination, with the aero package may be the exact thing that we saw on Saturday.”
Will the new Indianapolis aero package be coming to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series?
Steve O’Donnell comments on the package at the cup level, “So, it’s been a long road. A long process. Bit it’s something that we need obviously the race teams to say, ‘Yes, we’re all in.’ as well.”
He concluded, “I applaud the entire series for pulling that off on Saturday.”
NASCAR drivers react to Indy aero package
How did the NASCAR community react to the new Xfinity aero package?
Elliott Sadler: “The diffusers (aero ducts) do a really good job. I’m really happy and impressed with (them); I think they have brought the competition closer together.”
Brad Keselowksi: “Not the restrictor plate, but the air ducts are the way to go…It’s a big gain at almost every track.”
Joey Logano: “You just had to be smart on restarts and knowing when to race guys and when to just keep momentum because if you started losing momentum you lost five or six spots.”
Ryan Reed: “I think anytime you make the cars … slower, they’re easier to drive. When they’re easier to drive, you’re able to put them in more difficult positions and come out the other end OK and you’re going to have a little more confidence. I think you’ve got to find a balance because at this level a high-rate of speed is what help defines the sport.”
“You don’t want us to go down and run 140 miles an hour and wide open every track, otherwise who wants to watch that? Just find a balance. I think that this may be a step in the right direction. It seems like the racing was better.’’
William Byron: “First time seeing the place and a new aero package. Gonna be fun!”
Byron said the package, “allowed us to pass on the straightaway but you have to drive it. You can’t just coast around out there.”
Ty Dillon: “I think there were some guys who were a little more courteous than what they will be in the future and that worries me a little bit. If the fans like it, we can stick with it. I’m a fan with the original style of it but I’m good with whatever fans want.’’
Kyle Busch: “That’s a start. Somebody’s gotta have a better idea.”