Race Weekend Central

Kickin’ the Tires: NASCAR’s Decisions Made in Best Interest of the Sport

It’s pretty obvious that the high-downforce racing package isn’t what’s best for race fans or conducive to the best overall action on the track – at least in the current configuration.

It failed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it didn’t seem to produce the desired results at Michigan International Speedway, either. But had the attempt not been made, the results would be unknown. Likewise, had there not been a low-downforce package at Kentucky Speedway, we wouldn’t be anxiously anticipating how the configuration will influence the upcoming Southern 500.

With NASCAR deciding it won’t make changes to the 2015 aerodynamic package for the final 10-race Chase for the Championship, it reinforced my belief that the current package doesn’t suck. Of course, everyone would like more drama on the track but sometimes that just isn’t possible.

Like I have said before, going three-wide for the win or having cars slingshot off the turns and trading positions every lap, isn’t reality. And despite what some fans claim, it wasn’t a reality in the past either. Yes, we had good racing in “the old days” but we’ve had good racing in the present, as well.

Think restrictor plates – they slow the cars down, which isn’t a bad thing in some cases. This week we heard about the possibility of using restrictor plates at Michigan and Auto Club Speedway in the future. Would it be a bad thing? I don’t know. Nobody does. What I do know is that cars flying into the catchfence is a bad thing.

I applaud NASCAR for trying something new and wanting to make the racing better – and safer – on the track. Overseeing the most popular racing series in the country isn’t easy, and sometimes the decisions that are made are unpopular.

Another example of a decision that some didn’t like, but seems to be working out rather well, is the souvenir setup with Fanatics. The new souvenir area is 10-times better than the old hauler system and allows for more merchandise and a less-restrictive shopping experience. When it was first announced, many fans were against it, but it seems to be a very popular move.

If people would give NASCAR a little latitude on finding the best aerodynamic package the outcome might be surprising. Personally, I don’t believe some people see the overall picture. NASCAR has to do what is best for every stakeholder in the sport, not just a few.

And for those people, who believe Brian France’s ultimate goal is to destroy NASCAR, you are just plain stupid. I don’t know Mr. France personally, but it’s impossible for me to believe he would concoct some great conspiracy to kill the very thing that made his entire family very wealthy and entertained hundreds of millions of people through the years.

Over time, even the best things in life tend to evolve. At present, NASCAR is evolving and with that evolution comes growing pains that some people may not like. However, at the end of the day, for those who endure, I can’t help but believe the results will be far more beneficial than had there never been a change in the first place.

That being said, I encourage NASCAR to keep trying new things, tinkering with the schedule, adjusting the aerodynamics package and taking whatever steps are necessary to keep the sport fresh and exciting for decades to come.

About the author

Jerry Jordan, is a two-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) award-winning writer covering the world of NASCAR. He is the founder, editor and radio host of Kickin' the Tires, which is a motorsports media outlet focusing primarily on NASCAR.
The goal is to bring visitors a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening in the sport of NASCAR through the printed word, in pictures and with audio from the who's who of NASCAR.
Each week, Jordan's award-winning Kickin' the Tires syndicated column is featured first at Frontstretch.com, and then published in print publications covering Southeast Texas and on the Kickin' the Tires Web site.

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First it is obvious that the power brokers in the “sport” are not going to deliberately sabotage their livelihoods. Second what does it say about the state of the “sport” when an article like this needs to be written?


Every decision of Brian’s makes cents.


It seems that everyone knew that a higher down force package would not yield good results on the track except Brian France. I also wonder where he got the information than fans want more pack racing? The more dependence on aero, the less happens on the track. I don’t think anyone feels there can be lead changes every few laps, but fans should be able to see more than a single car parade for 3 hours. While BZF might be a genius at wringing money out of corporations and making owners spend money out of their own pockets for his doomed science experiments, he seem to have little grasp of what makes a race fun to watch.


Absolutely right on the new merchandise setup. I visited it at the Glen and it is more convenient, with more of a selection in a shaded environment. There are things to get used to like all the diecasts are in one section, but overall it is easier to find stuff. I liked the haulers too, but it could be a scavenger hunt to find specific ones depending on the track.


“NASCAR’S DECISIONS MADE IN BEST INTEREST OF THE SPORT?” OK, what happened to the objective, pro-race fan web site that I used to know as Frontstretch.com? What happened to the writers who wrote independently and not like someone who is on the NASCAR payroll? I want that web site back. If I wanted to read about the wonders of this now no-so-new NASCAR, I’d read nascar.com or one of the other NASCAR-approved spin sites.


The brain trust at NASCAR could not create a more boring on track product if they were trying to. When faced with mind numbing stupidity or incompetence so complete it was almost impossible to grasp my Grandfather would always say ” He (they) could f-ck up a one horse funeral in a one cemetery town”. As I watch the NASCAR plan to rid itself of fans unfold or read one of these silly fantasy articles I remember my Grandfather fondly. Thanks for that NASCAR.


This sport is in trouble. The drivers know it, even though they’d be fined if they admitted it.
The fans know it-well the 40-50% that are left in the stands and still watching on TV from the pre-Chase days.
I do have to give Brian credit for pulling one over on Fox and NBC to sign off on the latest TV contract. I don’t think there will be networks trying to fill airtime on new sports networks the next time around.

Biff Baynehouse

Facts check: It was not “high downforce” at IMS & MIS Jerry! It is “HIGH DRAG.” The “downforce” package was “LOW DOWNFORCE” and that was at Kentucky. Sheesh…

Biff Baynehouse

Regarding the Cup “high drag” package: I suspect the primary limiting factors of 220 mph around places like MIS, IMS, ‘Tona & ‘Dega in 3500 lb. stock cars all day is venue insurance, If true, rightfully so, because of the inherent dangers to spectators & race team & venue employees. I also suspect that the HP reduction did not slow the Cup cars as much as Nascar anticipated & not enough to appease your insurers. If true, the only suggestion I have regarding this topic is that it would be nice if these aspects of of their decision making were better delineated publicly. Insurance, while being somewhat of a dirty word, is fact of life. I believe explaining it’s relationship with Nascar’s precuts there-in & acknowledging that even seemingly law-less race car drivers are not immune to it, would help many customers develop a deeper understand of, not only, what ultimately drives Nascar’s industry, but would also allow them to better understand the safety aspects of the product they are vested in. Not to mention go a long way to stem the tsunami of tiring ignorant inter-web vitriol.
Other than that, with the arrival of a new spoiler material, my only other assertion is a 100% Lexan (transparent) spoiler in the base package might be an intuitive direction. I trust that industry & Nascar experts know how best to develop & improve their product in this extremely sensitive & elusive area. I applaud their flexibility & efforts. I appreciate Nascar’s & Mr. O’Donnell’s acknowledgement of the “high-drag” short comings & indication of continually seeking new solutions.

Biff Baynehouse

***Nascar’s products there-in…


Ummmm, good informative comment Biff Baynehouse, except for “NASCAR knows best”. They Don’t know Best. That’s why they’re willing to experiment in real life right before our unbelieving eyes. I’ll bet they’re in a really good hidey-hole waiting for the shrill complaints and internet vitriol to pass by. And me suspects the thought occurred with a sly Intimidator smile that any attention is good attention.
No, NASCAR doesn’t know best. But I applaud them for risking attempting to learn right before our dis-believing eyes.


“NASCAR’s Decisions Made in Best Interest of the Sport”


Now that I’ve spewed coffee out of my nose & all over my keyboard & monitor, I’ll continue.

I almost didn’t need to read the article after seeing that ridiculous headline, but what can I say? I’m a masochist so I did.

NASCAR has NEVER, EVER made a decision “in the best interest of the sport” & NEVER, EVER will. From the days of Big Bill France being a “benevolent” dictator, (yeah, right. Ask the families of all his initial investors he screwed over to get 100% ownership), on to the present day, NASCAR has ALWAYS & will ALWAYS been about in the best interest of for NASCAR/mostly the France family. This has to be the shoddiest, most inane, most useless article I’ve read on the sport in a long time. All it needed was a reference to Danica being on the verge of winning a race to make it a complete bowl of crap. I guess NMPA awards aren’t what they used to be when I actually followed the sport avidly.

Trust me, in pre-radial tire days at Michigan, the racing WAS three wide all around the track. I know, I actually saw it. As NASCAR switched to the radials, (which yes I know was forced on them by Goodyear in 1989-1992, the year the last track got radials in place of bias ply tires), & the aero packages got slicker & slicker, (starting with the introduction of the front airdam in 1096), the side by side racing has suffered.

Please, for us true, long time fans, (right at 47 years in my case), don’t piss on our heads & try to convince us it’s raining. We’ve been around & we know better.


Loved your initial reaction MarkM. been there, done that, many times myself, but not for this article. Take a look at the article again and then your comment starting with “Trust me”. Both the article and your comment and Biff Baynehouse below are very informative. Do you think that NASCAR began a mistake long ago in allowing modifications to OEM, like air dams? It looks to me like the France dynasty stepped on their crank with golf shoes on a slippery slope long ago allowing OEM modifications and landed on the current fat ass with the current unrecognizable and un-obtainable Fords and Chevys and Toyotas we see on the track now. Looks to me like ole Brian and his gang realized they had a sore subject in their hands and were on their butts on the slippery slope quite a while ago with the introduction of that winged contraption. That NASCAR is willing to test in real life environments right there in front of us, totally prepared for SHRILL COMPLAINTS, in an attempt to fix their long ago original mistake speaks highly of the people now running NASCAR. I wish NASCAR could go back to “Show Room Floor”, OEM power train, and allow only minimal tweaks for safety like roof flaps and the protective baring and tethers and stuff. Then it would be back to Factory physics and driver brass quality, solid or brass covered tinfoil. Maybe then we wouldn’t have robots operating efficient machines any more. The speeds would probably come down and the excitement and anticipation would rise. Win, win, win, and win, for us racing fans, car manufacturers, NASCAR, and TV. And current technology is more than capable of finding things that really just aren’t OEM. Like the Pensky splitters.
I suppose asking for the ‘other’ tv broadcaster to step up to the quality of coverage and commentary refreshingly well done by NBCSN might be too much to ask for, but, one can always hope.
Thanks for the article Jerry and thanks for your revealing and informative comment MarkM

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