Chase Elliott: “I don’t know what genius decided to pave this place or take the banking out of [Turns] 1 and 2. Not a good move for the entertainment factor, in my opinion.”
The race at Texas Motor Speedway saw 7 different leaders over the course of 500 miles. It was a race dominated by the season favorite of Kevin Harvick.
It’s worth noting beforehand that the Fort Worth, Texas was recently repaved in 2017. The old surface would hold water, making it difficult to dry in the case of weather. With the new surface, it’s now the fastest intermediate track on the NASCAR schedule.
But, fast doesn’t always mean great racing. In reality, it rarely does.
After the race, Martin Truex Jr referred to passing on the track as, “unbelievably impossible.”
“I don’t know what genius decided to pave this place or take the banking out of [Turns] 1 and 2,” 6th place finished Chase Elliott said. “Not a good move for the entertainment factor, in my opinion.”
It’s not a problem limited to Texas Motor Speedway. It just appears to be most present at that track given the speeds.
“The asphalt has to age. Give it some time. Whether we like it or not, we have to repave every so often. Give it time,” track president Eddie Gossage stated after the race.
NASCAR has a plan in place to fix the very thing we saw on Sunday. A new rules package is hoped to fix the 1.5-mile bore fest.
NASCAR has a plan to fix the 1.5-mile tracks
NASCAR will reduce horsepower on track over 1-mile in length. In addition, they will add downforce. The combination of those two things is set to reduce the speeds of the cars. The reduction in overall speed is hopeful to reduce the dependance on aero downforce.
“If you want to talk about why we’re going in the direction we are for 2019, I think Texas is probably a great example of that,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer stated to ‘The Morning Drive’ via SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“You really had a challenging race. I’m not taking anything away from what Kevin Harvick did. He dominated, he’s dominated all year.”
“But, in terms of the number of passes that took place on Sunday and the difficultly to pass versus maybe what you saw on a Saturday or Friday. That’s on us to continue to improve. We feel like we have.”
What O’Donnell is referring to is the quality of the Truck and Xfinity race in comparison to the MENCS event on Sunday. Both of the support races saw a lot more excitement. Really, the only difference between the classes is the speed. The faster you go, the more aero comes into play.
“Obviously, that rules package will match up with what tire we bring to Texas.”
What kind of data does NASCAR look at to help determine a new direction?
“I think certainly the corner entry speeds are one of the bigger ones. Where we see some challenges in terms of potential race quality at some of those tracks.”
“Obviously, the fastest you’re going into the corner, the smaller that racing groove gets. Then, you look at the number of quality passes, throughout the field. The ability to come up and pass the leader.”
“How many lead changes do you have under green, versus pit cycles. We’ve got a ton of data that we dissect after every race. Certainly the eye ball test with the fans and the media, what was their reaction?”
“Ultimately, you look at the data as well. I think the data supports the direction that we’ve chosen to go in for next year,” O’Donnell concluded.
Reaction to the upcoming rules package
The fans were excited about the new rules package after seeing it’s debut at the NASCAR All-Star race earlier this year. Soon after, the drivers started commenting on it and it became a less favorable idea.
“It’s naïve to think the 19 package will fix the one lane racing we saw today. It is a tire/track problem. Tire just flat out do not lay rubber anymore. I’m hoping that when a completely new car is designed we design it around a tire/wheel combination that is correct,” Denny Hamlin said via twitter after the race.
“You can’t even hardly find a car on the road today that has 15” wheels on it. We need something with a durable and tough sidewall to allow GY to put a compound tread that lays rubber. That is what forces us to move off the bottom. Until then we will continue to chase a package,” Hamlin concluded.