Race Weekend Central

Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle Weigh In on New High-Drag Rule Package

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series test session cancelled, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray used their free time to weigh in on NASCAR’s newest announced rule packages.

Biffle, 45, and McMurray, 39, each took the time to answer questions about the announced high-drag rule package being ran in NSCS races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

McMurray looked favorably over the changes.

“Here’s the deal, we’re trying to make [the racing] better at every track,” said McMurray. “When I look at a place like Kansas or Michigan, any place we’ve repaved, you’re going to have a really hard time getting Goodyear to build a tire that’s softer and will wear out, that would go along with this lighter downforce package.

“The places that have been repaved recently, I look at. Even at Indy, a somewhat unique track, I think the idea of having the super high drag is a great idea to try. Again, none of us know. That’s why we’re going to try this [low-downforce package] at here and Darlington and try the other package at Michigan and Indy.”

“If the car behind is behind by two or three car-lengths, the goal is for the car to be able to pass by the time they get to the end of the straightaway, which is really what you see at the Indy 500,” McMurray continued. “It seems like you’re somewhat of a sitting duck sitting out front. I think that’s the concept behind it, and I hope it works out. As drivers, that’s what we’d like to have is the opportunity to pass one each track.”

Biffle, on the other hand, took a more historical approach to the changes.

“Everybody has their own opinion and I really kind of reserve my opinion on that until we get on the race track with it and actually see what it does because I really don’t have any idea what it will do,” said Biffle. “Typically, historically, the more downforce the front guy has, the more difficult it becomes for the trailing cars behind him. The more aero dependent the cars become, the more difficult it is for guys back behind him to get the little scraps that are left over, so to speak.

“The less aero dependent the car becomes, then typically the better those cars in the back can do. Now, having big, long straightaways, having all that drag, maybe it can produce passes. Obviously, we’re gonna be single-file when the corner comes, so I don’t really know how that package is gonna play out at those particular racetracks.”

When further questioned, Biffle defended his stance.

“It just depends on how much of a run you can get,” said Biffle. “I don’t know how it’s gonna work, but I would think the leader would be fast enough being in clean air that the guy in second can’t get enough of a run at him around the corner because he’s in dirty air to catch him on that big, long straightaway. Now, if you want to talk about third, fourth, fifth, sixth-place cars, that’s gonna be completely different. But that lead guy, when he has clean air, he’s gonna potentially be gone or stay far enough away because once you get in that wake your car won’t stick to the racetrack – you can’t get that run off the corner to catch him on that big, long straightaway.

While both drivers gave their take, each admitted that they won’t know until they gain on-track experience.

“The biggest thing to me, is that we could maybe have a different kind of package for each track,” said McMurray when asked about running different packages. “When you look historically, Indy is a pretty challenging race, a tough place to pass, and then you look at when IndyCar goes there, and it’s one of the best races they have. The track has the capability of putting on a good race. To me the concept behind having the high drag, and having the car behind have a horsepower advantage is something that’s worth looking at, and trying it in a race configuration is really the only way to know what you’re going to have.”

“These are things we won’t know until we get there,” said Biffle. “What we’re doing here, we kind of have a basic idea how that’s gonna work.”

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via