After two attempts at running the high-drag rules package, the stars of NASCAR seem to agree about one thing: They never want to see it again.
The package, instituted in today’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway, as well as the Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was tested in an attempt to encourage drafting and passing.
Running at two superspeedways, NASCAR’s hope was that the cars would punch a bigger hole in the air, allowing the trailing car to suck up on the lead car and slingshot past them. However, the package instead made passing difficult as drivers found their cars too ill-handling to pass.
Following the conclusion of Sunday’s race, many drivers refrained from voicing their opinion on the package.
“It’s not my right to say. It’s not my sport. Whatever they want to do, I’ll race it. That’s my job,” said Brad Keselowski. “I think we saw almost exactly what everyone thought we’d see. I’ll let you guys be the judge of if that was good or bad.”
“I’m really proud of my team and the things that they did to prepare for this race, and we had a good, strong day,” said Kevin Harvick when asked about the package, completely dodging the question.
While most drivers dodged questions, a couple of the race’s top finishers were open and candid about their experiences.
Asked if he wanted to see this package again, or a variation of it, Joey Logano had a simple response before walking away: “No.”
Carl Edwards dodged the question at first, but opened up about his frustration upon further questioning.
“Man, just a great day for (Joe Gibbs Racing),” Edwards joked, a smile across his face. “I don’t think we’re going to be running this one again, so we’ll just focus on the package that we’ve gotta race the rest of the year.
“I’ll say this. I think it’s pretty clear that the more aerodynamic devices you put on these cars, the bigger hole that they put in the air, the worse it is to drive them and to be able to pass,” Edwards continued. “So, as long as NASCAR just keeps going the other way, as long as they just go to real low downforce…
“If this is worse and Kentucky’s better, let’s just keep going that direction. I really hope we do. NASCAR says they’re working on it. They want the best product for the fans, and this was something they tried. It could’ve worked, but I think it was obvious today that it was pretty tough to pass.”
The package, which was also ran in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis, made it difficult for drivers to pass, while also increasing the temperatures inside of the cockpit by upwards of 20 degrees due to a lack of airflow in the car. Temperatures inside of the car at Michigan rose as high as 154 degrees.
There are no more scheduled dates for the high-drag package. The opposite package, a low-downforce package used earlier this season at Kentucky Speedway, will be ran again in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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