Matt Kenseth wants the splitters and side skirts off the ground
The NASCAR All-Star Race brought a new type of racing to Charlotte Motor Speedway. It wasn’t exactly Daytona on a 1.5-mile track. But, it was close to that. However, Matt Kenseth is looking for something different.
If you go back about 20 years, the cars were setup drastically different than the cars of today. The travel in the suspensions alone created a wider variety in chassis setup. That variety created comers and goers throughout a run, which created racing.
Today, every car is sealed to the race track. Suspension travel, there isn’t much of that. The front end and even the tail of the race car isn’t hardly traveling at all really. That places every team in a very narrow box. Every spring and shock package is just as stiff as the next.
As practice rained out for the NASCAR All-Star race, the TV played the ‘One Hot Night’ special. Matt Kenseth had a revelation.
“That’s the kind of racing I like,” Matt Kenseth declares via the Dale Jr download.
“Everybody talks about plates and side by side, drafting and hitting each other. ‘Oh, it was great. It was a big wad of cars.’ ”
“Well, everybody claims that was the most exciting race ever [1992 All-Star race]. All the cars were 10 car lengths apart. What make it exciting is you didn’t have the sides dragging on the ground. You didn’t have a splitter on the front that was sealed up.”
“The wasn’t — Like every gain you make today, 90% of it’s aero. It’s all aero. And these are suppose to be spec cars.”
“These cars back then, you’re trying to hang on to ’em. There’s no side force because the sides are cut way up. Not a lot of downforce.”
“You catch somebody and like your dad [Dale Earnhardt] tried to block at the end. He got to his left rear and I don’t even know if he hit him but he spun him out and he couldn’t hang on to it. Then he slid up and the next guy passed him.”
“That’s what I wish we could get back to. Is the guy that could wrestle the car the best. You can get close to somebody and he’ll get off-line if you move him off-line a little bit. Get back to racing. Cause this makes less of that.”
Matt Kenseth details the racing in the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since that race, there’s been a buzz from the fan base. Kenseth hasn’t watch the All-Star race. He did watch the Open and he thought it was exciting. But, that’s still not exactly what he’s looking for.
Now, NASCAR is hinting that they have plans to move that direction for future races. It’s possible that style of racing becomes the package for every 1.5-mile track.
“This is going to be a plate race. With those huge spoilers and the side stuck on the ground. You can run into somebody as hard as you want to and you’re probably not going to be able to spin him out. It’s a different style of racing.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth both started their career in the same year, 1997. In those times, there was still a little bit of the old package available. The teams hadn’t exactly figured out the sealing aspect just yet.
“Me, that’s the kind of racing I miss. Even when we started, [Dale Earnhardt Jr] it was somewhat like that. If you were faster, you’re going to catch a guy and you were going to pass him. You weren’t gonna run side by side.”
“For me, as a fan, I don’t really care about side by side racing. I wanna see the fastest car catch the guy in front of him and be able to pass him.”
The splitter is a hot topic for Dale Jr. Kenseth just pressed that button. Dale Earnhardt Jr chimes in. He still hates the splitter.
“I hate the splitter. You said splitter. I’m with ya man,” Dale Earnhardt Jr adds.
“I’m not smart enough to figure out how to get the cars off the ground again. I know you could roll the doors and take the straight sides off the cars. Roll the doors under the cars like they used to be back in the late 90’s.”
“But, I know how to get rid of that splitter. The splitter basically has everybody living and racing in the same spot. As far as their cars and the aero and everything.”
Matt Kenseth: “I’m not smart enough. And you can’t unlearn things. So, I don’t know if you can ever get back to that. But, it would be neat if we could figure out to get back to that kinda racing.”
Dale Jr: “I always appreciated a good ass whopping when a guy would just destroy the field. But, it’s very frustrating to watch a faster car run a guy down and get stuck there.”