Drivers And Crews Concerned For Brickyard 400

Jimmy Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the team prepare for the Brickyard 400. [Father Dale Grubba Photo]

Jimmy Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the team prepare for the Brickyard 400.  [Father Dale Grubba Photo]


Speedway, IN – The high drag package that NASCAR has mandated brings numerous concerns to the Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams as they prepare to contest the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard.

From heat to safety to performance, there are a number of new issues that have arisen from the new rules.

At the back of the car is a nine inch tall spoiler that includes a wicker bill on the top edge. That tall top edge has crews concerned with catching either equipment or cutting their hands and arms as they work on the cars in the garage or the pits.

The spoiler that produces the drag that NASCAR desires has been questioned by drivers as to if it will accomplish the goal of better and closer racing. After watching the Xfinity Series race yesterday and seeing Kyle Busch able to catch leader Ryan Blaney but not draft past, the fears may be true. Teams didn’t test the racing aspect of the new package during the three practices prior to qualifying. Emphasis was placed on qualifying and the drafting aspect of the new rules are still in question. The biggest concern is that without the horsepower to catch up, falling out of any draft could drop a driver completely out of contention. Again in yesterday’s race, Busch fell back about eight tenths of a second from leader Blaney and could not catch his draft. Only lapped cars and a mistake by Blaney allowed Busch to make the last lap pass for the win.

Another unintended consequence of the rules package is lack of airflow in the cockpit for the driver. It is a hot, humid day to day and even yesterday’s drivers had heat issues in the shorter Xfinity Series race, as evidenced by Kyle Busch who had to sit down in victory lane with an ice bag behind his head to cool off. Brad Keselowski estimated the temperature inside the car at 140 degrees.

No one really knows what will take place until the race is run. Credit NASCAR for trying to improve the racing product, but this experiment may not produce the desired results.

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