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“We have to work harder” on the short track package

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The problem has been particularly evident on the three routes of 1 mile or less where the package has been deployed so far in 2024 – Phoenix, Richmond and, last weekend, Martinsville.

While some drivers have noted some improvement in the car's maneuverability, the field still appears to be filling up quickly, with only a handful of drivers able to make up positions on the track in each race.

William Byron was one of the few in the race last weekend – he started 18th – and won Sunday at Martinsville in an overtime that gave Hendrick Motorsports a victory while also celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first series victory.

Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang, John Hunter Nemechek, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Skip Barber Racing School Toyota Camry

Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang, John Hunter Nemechek, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Skip Barber Racing School Toyota Camry

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

“We’re not naive about this,” NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition said in an interview Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We at NASCAR want our short track package to be better.

“We want the racing to be at the level that superspeedways and our intermediate race tracks are today. I promise you that with Goodyear we work as hard as we can and have to work even harder. This is the end result.

“We have to work harder to get to a point where, as I said a few weeks ago, we have to figure out how to take what we learned in Bristol and also what we learned last week in the first few “What we learned from 30 laps in Richmond, how this race developed.”

Focus on the tire

The new package, unveiled in the off-season, focuses on a simplified diffuser on the next-gen car and includes the elimination of engine cowl strips, simplified diffuser strips and a 3-inch spoiler.

Bristol delivered one of the most entertaining short distance races this season, but the package was not used there. Tire drop became an important part of the dynamic of this race, as drivers were forced to make stops to collect new tires before the end of a refueling session.

In Richmond, the most entertaining parts of the race came early on when the field started the race on rain tires due to the wet conditions.

The tread tires provided much more grip and the cars seemed to be able to maneuver around each other more easily until the field switched back to slick tires after about 30 laps when the track dried.

Sawyer seemed to indicate that tire drop is the area where NASCAR wants to focus its efforts.

“If you can drive at 10/10 on any track, especially short tracks, and the equipment can handle it and the tires can handle it, then you take away all the skill required from the driver. ” he said.

“I promise you, I promise our fans, that we work every day to continue to develop a tire that will give us the short-distance racing we are all looking for.”

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