After what we saw Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, I have been getting a lot of questions from the fans asking why NASCAR isn’t trying a new rules package on the one-mile flat track at New Hampshire this weekend. It really is a great question.
Obviously, I can’t speak for NASCAR, but I think it’s a number of answers rolled into one. First off, I think they wanted to get the Kentucky race under their belt, see the results and see whether there was potential there for improving the product on the track. Like I always tell you, you can test something to death, but until you put all the drivers out there in race conditions, you really never know what you have.
I mean, let’s face it: A lot of folks thought the rule changes that were made between 2014 and 2015 were going to make the racing better, but it didn’t. I think the other reason they decided on Kentucky was because Goodyear had already made somewhat of a change on the tire compound, but they simply couldn’t expect Goodyear to make changes that quickly to the tires for all these upcoming races.
Obviously, I don’t know this for sure, but I bet they gave consideration to the fact that New Hampshire is one of the races in the Chase and they don’t know yet where they are going to be with the rules. So I really think it was the thought of why make these guys use one rules package this weekend at New Hampshire and then possibly go back there in the Chase with another set of rules?
My hope is NASCAR doesn’t wait until after Darlington to tell the teams what the rules package for the Chase will be. I would almost bank on them going ahead and telling the teams to plan on running the Kentucky package at the five mile-and-a-half tracks in the Chase. Again, Goodyear comes into play there, as well, as they have to have enough tires available.
I think Kentucky showed everyone that this might be the best package for those mile-and-a-half tracks. Just look at how Kyle Busch and Joey Logano swapped the lead back and forth. We haven’t had that in a very long time. That was great to see and I hope this is the start of even more to come.