Larry Mac: Low-downforce aero package a home run for NASCAR

With the racing we saw at Kentucky and then again Sunday night at Darlington, I think NASCAR is dialing in on the right package for these teams. What I truly respect is the way they are handling this. I don’t envy the decisions they have to make and all the data they have to sift through.

As I’ve said many times, the one thing that sets our sport completely separate from any other sport except for maybe golf is that we have 23 completely different playing fields. Some might be the same in banking and length, but every single one of them is different.

The biggest difference we have from the Kentucky race to Sunday’s race is that we now have this tire from Goodyear that has a lot of grip but also gives up more. So in reality we only have the data from this particular combination from one race, and that was Sunday at Darlington. So we are in a little bit of a box because I totally respect that NASCAR didn’t want to make a change right before the start of the Chase, but, golly, I wish we could run this package again this year.

I would love to see how it works at Texas Motor Speedway or Charlotte Motor Speedway this fall, for example. I just really think NASCAR and the teams are onto something, but we’ll have to wait and see what changes they make in the off-season first. Naturally the 2016 Daytona 500 has its own set of restrictor-plate rules, but I sure hope come the second race of 2016, no matter what track we’re at, that these teams are using this low-downforce package.

Believe it or not, Sunday’s winner, Carl Edwards told me he actually thinks they need to take more downforce away. I do think they are onto something because Sunday night I never heard anyone complaining about not being able to pass. I also loved the fact that we had drivers who simply didn’t stay out to gain track position while others pitted. Don’t get me wrong, some did try that strategy, but they paid a price by doing it.

So yes, again, I think we really are onto something, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out during the off-season. That is for another day, though. We have to get through Richmond this weekend and get the Chase field set. Then we have 10 races to crown our 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.