Although NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers have had only 49 minutes of practice this week with the new aero package, they do have a sense of what Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 could be like.
Here’s a sampling of what drivers said Friday about the new aero package designed to reduce downforce:
Austin Dillon: “The track is really slick with the new package. We were a little loose and we fixed some of that. It should be an interesting race. I think the first time we all get around each other will be really interesting. There is definitely a lack of downforce in the rear of the car.”
Kyle Larson: “I haven’t really been close to anybody out there, so I don’t know how it will handle in dirty air or anything like that. I don’t really know if anybody has been around cars in traffic yet. So, we’ll just have to wait and see. I think the whole idea behind the new aero package was to try and make the racing better. So, hopefully they’ve made the right changes and we’ll be better tomorrow.”
Brad Keselowski: “The car has less grip, and the easiest way to explain that to someone is if you’re from somewhere where it snows it’s the difference between driving in great conditions and driving with a little bit of snow on the road. You have to be more cognizant. If you get into a slide, it’s going to take longer to recover and it takes more skill in those situations than it does car performance – more driver skill. And I think that’s why the drivers have been fighting so hard for a package of this type because we’re of the opinion that we would like to dictate the winners and losers of the race based on driver talent and perhaps not some of the peripheral items that come into play in a race. So this package is definitely leaning towards having that possibility.”
Joey Logano: “They don’t drive good, that’s for sure. They slide all over the place. What happens in traffic is still probably an unknown, but there was a lot of slipping and sliding around and trying to figure out which way the car is going when you go into the corner is kind of hard. We’ll see.”
Trevor Bayne: “I feel like if there was such a thing as a cushion here I would be running it, but I’ve always enjoyed having to work on forward drive and managing your tires. It didn’t seem like the tires were falling off a lot. I don’t know how that will go after 20-30 laps, but I’m sure they will. The cars are sliding around a ton and Kentucky is already a tough place to drive anyways with all the bumps and the way you slide into turn three. Now with less downforce you have even more of that, so in the race you’ll definitely have to do a good job managing your equipment.”
Kyle Busch: “This package is certainly going to bring the drivers and the better cars to the forefront. That’s also what we’ve been looking for. I think you devalue the sport as well as the drivers when you get all the cars so equal and on top of each other that anybody can do it. That’s not at all what this sport was built off of. It’s been built off the heroes of the sport. Let’s keep it that way and allow those better drivers to excel. You’re always going to have separation. You’ve got to maintain that and it would certainly be nice to have week after week you have different winners, but I don’t know that it’s practical to get those lower tier teams to win as often as we’ll see the bigger tier teams do.”