NASCAR is considering adjusting the minimum speed
The discussion of lapped cars getting in the way of the leaders is on the table. It’s not a new discussion, it’s been an argument in racing, forever.
On Sunday, lap cars played a bit of a role. Kevin Harvick was chasing down Martin Truex Jr in the closing laps. His progress was certainly aided by a pack of lappers.
However, it wasn’t just in the final laps at Texas Motor Speedway. All day they were a factor. A lot of this had to do with the reconfiguration of the track. It’s now, mostly a 1 groove race track. Though, they did widen it out toward the end.
This is not a new discussion for NASCAR either. Back in September, Martin Truex stated after losing the lead at Richmond, “I think it’s ridiculous that, again, there’s a guy out there that shouldn’t even be out there, 20 some laps down, riding around.”
Those comments later led to Derrike Cope parting ways with his team.
Steve O’Donnell talks NASCAR’s minimum speed
“Well, I think if you look back at our history we actually had the leaders putting the entire field multiple laps down in the past,” Steve O’Donnell discusses the topic via ‘The Morning Drive’ on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“We’ve gotta have a place where competitors can come. Obviously, not everyone’s gunna win the race or be on the lead lap.”
It is something we monitor with a pretty rigorous resume policy.
“It is something we monitor with a pretty rigorous resume policy. In terms of who gets out there. As you know, we’ve got the minimum speed you gotta meet.”
“I think, if anything, we could look at that minimum speed. Maybe closing it up a little bit. All in all, that’s been part of racing, cars being passed. But, you’ve gotta respect the field.”
I think, why you’re seeing more and more of this is there’s so much on the line now for these races. That’s a good thing for us. Tat everybody knows how much it means to win that race.”
“But, it also puts pressure on us as an industry. To look at who’s out there competing. I can tell you that all those drivers have passed the resume committee to be on the track.”
It is something we’re going to discuss in the off-season.
“But, it is something we’re going to discuss in the off-season. To see if maybe we can tighten up the minimum speeds and work on that a little bit more as we head into 2018.”
How does NASCAR set minimum speed?
“We take a percentage off the practice speeds. We can tweak that. It’s communicated to the garage in the drivers’ meeting and then on the radio from David Hoots on a Sunday, prior to the race. The spotters all know, the teams know as well.”
“We can play with that percentage, potentially and tighten that up a little bit. We have a pretty lenient policy right now. It’s something that’s worked for us.”
“But, as we go forward it’s definitely an area we could look at.”