In 2017, they had zero lead changes at the loops in the NASCAR All-Star race; On Saturday night, there was 48
On Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR introduced a new package. A restrictor plate, more downforce, aero ducts and a softer tire was the combination.
The NASCAR All-Star race has been widely accepted as a winning package by the fan base. The level of excitement on social media alone was a gauge large enough to understand that.
But, who put it together?
“The guy who put the most work into this is Eric Jacuzzi,” NASCAR Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell stated from the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
He’s a young guy who’s got a lot of talent. He took a lot of risks for us and put a lot into this.”
Eric Jacuzzi is the Director of Aerodynamics, Simulation and Design at NASCAR. He’s worked in the aerodynamics department of the NASCAR R&D Center since 2014.
“From an eye test, we were certainly pleased with what we saw. I think you’ll hear drivers say directionally there’s some things we could look at. We would certainly agree.”
Last year, NASCAR had zero lead changes at the loops in the NASCAR All-Star race. On Saturday night, they had 48. That was more lead changes throughout the lap, than in the previous 4 years in the same race, combined.
Lead changes at the loops are lead changes at points of the track other than the start finish line.
“From 1st to 10th, much closer. But, at the end of the day, the best drivers and the best teams are going to go out there and win.”
“We saw a lot of things coming into this about this being a superspeedway package. That’s not the intent.”
“The intent for us was really about taking the best of our short tracks, the best of the superspeedways and trying to find that balance.”
“Where you could bring the cars closer together. You are not going to see and we don’t expect to see pack racing. We expected the best cars would still win.”
“But, we thought they’d be running closer together. And we saw that tonight. That was the goal of this.”
“We’ll continue to look at how we can dial that in.”
Would would NASCAR look to tune on for this package?
“I think Kyle Busch won the race by 1.1 seconds. 10th place was 1.5. So, there’s a big difference there.”
“I think you knew on lap 7 that Kyle Busch had won the All-Star race. I think we all knew that last year.”
“When you looked at the ability for someone to get up to the leader and then that stall. That is something that we want to look at.”
The package fixed a lot of things with 1.5-mile racing. However, there’s still a bit of a stall once you reach the leader who has the benefit of clean air.
“This was a package really meant for Indianapolis and Michigan. We wanted to try this at Charlotte to see what we would learn. That’s part of what we would look at for sure.”
Is was a big risk for NASCAR to take. However, they went into it with a different perspective. They saw positives if it went in either direction. It was a test to point them in the right direction.
“Either way, we knew we would come out of this with a direction to pursue. I was exited at the beginning of the race and even throughout the race.”