NASCAR drivers address potential midseason rules changes
BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) Martin Truex Jr. has plenty of questions about the possibility of midseason rules changes aimed at creating better racing.
''What's it going to be like?'' the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver said. ''Is it going to do what they think and what some of the drivers think it's going to do?''
And then there's perhaps the most important concern.
''How much time do you want to spend on worrying about one race? Are we going to have this rules package for the Chase?'' he said.
Sprint Cup drivers spent time Friday addressing potential rule changes that could occur as early as next month's race at Kentucky. NASCAR met with key industry leaders at its North Carolina research and development center this week to discuss that possibility, according to a person who attended the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR requested the details not be made public.
Various rule packages were discussed. It's not clear if the changes would be limited to Kentucky, a 1.5-mile speedway that can be very dependent on aerodynamics. Kentucky is similar to Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosted two races last month where passing was difficult.
''I'm fine with what I'm hearing about a reduction in downforce if they can bring a softer tire,'' Jeff Gordon said to reporters after being asked about the issue. ''To me that is the whole key in kind of where we are at today. We knew the power was being reduced. A lot of the drivers were really asking for less downforce if the power was going to be reduced, but the key component to that was being able to get Goodyear to match the tire up for that to have a little bit more grip at the beginning of a run and maybe have some fall off.''
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also on NASCAR's schedule next month, and racing could be difficult to watch there under the current rules package. The Brickyard 400 has diminished the last several years because passing is at a premium and the field is easily strung out. The track is also hard on tires.
For now, NASCAR has to work closely with Goodyear on any potential rule changes and it's not clear if the tiremaker can handle significant changes without sacrificing quality. That's why any potential changes could be limited to Kentucky, with a hopeful eye on Indianapolis and the August race at Michigan.
''I'd be in favor of anything that makes the cars able to race around each other and to put more of the speed into the drivers' hands,'' Carl Edwards said. ''I know NASCAR is all for the same thing. Everybody wants this thing to be the best possible show for the fans and I don't think NASCAR is scared to make changes.''
There was no official comment from NASCAR, but Edwards sounded like he'd be fine with changing the rules at this point in the season.
''As long as the teams are able to implement the changes logistically and financially without a huge burden, change anything you want anytime you want,'' he said. ''As long as it's the same for everyone, who cares? As far as I'm concerned, you could make up rules or have changes five minutes before the race starts.''
AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this report.