NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell admitted today that the new, high-drag aerodynamic package used at Michigan International Speedway Sunday did not deliver the desired results.
“We certainly would have liked to have seen more out of the race package,’’ said O’Donnell on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive. “With each and every package we put together, we want to look at the ability to pass throughout the field and the ability to have multiple lead changes at the front.
“We didn’t get that Sunday.”
Sunday’s race featured 16 lead changes – 15 of them on pit road – with winner Matt Kenseth leading 146 of 200 total laps. All but one lead change took place during green-flag pit stops, with drivers complaining that their cars were unstable and difficult to drive in traffic.
Third-place finisher Martin Truex, Jr. summed up the opinion of most drivers, saying, “I could run anybody down and get to them, but it took a long time to pass. It was just so damn hard to pass. I could run a guy down from way back, then get to him and just about spin out."
“You saw some ability to pass in the middle of the field,” said O’Donnell today. “Certainly, the challenge of the leader getting way out front was one we all see. The fans see it, as well. We’ll look at that and what can we do to continue to… improve the racing and make progress in that area.”
The high-drag package was also used last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to lukewarm reviews. A separate, low-drag rules formula was utilized at Kentucky Speedway earlier this season, and produced an increase in passing throughout the field, and for the lead.
“Kentucky was certainly a success,’’ said O’Donnell. “(But at) Michigan, we’ve got work to do. We’ll do that. I have no doubt that with the folks in this industry, we’ll continue to improve upon things.’’