All-Star Race podcast: Thoughts on the rules package dilemma

After an experimental rules package was tried in Saturday night’s All-Star Race, I had some thoughts to share about the balance of entertainment vs. competition. This podcast was recorded as a live stream on Periscope.

8 Replies to “All-Star Race podcast: Thoughts on the rules package dilemma”

  1. I don’t know diddly squat about the restrictor plate or horsepower but I was thinking earlier (as I was watching the race) if the restrictor plate takes horsepower away why not just go with smaller engines? No need for plates if the engines already have less horsepower. Then all you need is maybe a few tweaks to the front aero ducts, rear spoiler and splitter.

  2. I too have been asking that question–smaller engines, and an electronic RPM limiter–easily accomplished with fuel injection–makes much more sense than keeping the 358 engine and choking it off with a plate when deemed necessary or appropriate. “Aero”, as a component of production vehicles today, has been adhered to in the racing versions of the cars NASCAR uses today, but engines have continued to be more like those in the past. NASCAR at one time had some equivalency formulas that allowed use of 4.5L (274 CI) V6 engines, with some success–I’m sure there were issues & arguments that centered on cost, reliability, and that the V6 was not liked from the grandstands….that hasn’t stopped Formula 1 in their realm. This is not to advocate V6 engines, but there are production V8’s that are in the 4.8 to 5.0L size range (Ford & GM) that would be a more appropriate starting point than the engines used today. The Ilmor “spec” engine is another approach, but it’s intended to not substantially change the main characteristics of the current NASCAR formula for engines & power levels. It would be much more appropriate to start with the Australian Supercars package–a 5.0L V8, with Ford & Holden still using pushrod OHV designs, while other engines have been authorized, including OHC configurations–Nissan days ago broke through with a win using their 5.0 DOHC V8 in an Altima, and both Mercedes and Volvo were running similar engines before leaving the series. Holden was even working on a version of the US-based 3.6L twin-turbo V6 race engine used by Cadillac in the Pirelli World Challenge with some success. Whether it becomes part of that racing series or not is not clear, but the current V8 in Supercars, at 5.0 displacement, 600-650 HP, with a 7500 RPM limit offers compelling racing, even in the small doses available to view on US television/cable, along with “never fail” engine reliability–a win-win. The NASCAR team-owned engine programs may not like the idea, but the current “doing the same thing looking for different results” approach isn’t working, and a fundamental re-focus on goals is going to be necessary to bring NASCAR back to relevance as a sport. Engines/power source(s) are the key essential basics of a racing formula, and it’s time for a clean-sheet approach.

  3. I’m conflicted about this package. On one hand, I liked the racing, but I don’t like how the restrictor plates force everyone to be bunched up. Maybe they should reduce the speeds, lose the plates, and make some aero changes to improve the racing. I don’t care how fast they go as long as the racing is good. But I don’t think restrictor plates are the answer. I don’t mind it for the all star race and maybe a few tracks, but I think there has to be a better solution. Years ago the cars weren’t as fast and the racing was great. I grew up on late 90s and early to mid 2000s racing and I don’t remember being bored then like I am now with some of the races. Even though Harvick is my favorite driver and I love seeing him on this streak, the racing hasn’t exactly been great each race. Maybe the answer is restrictor plates, but I just think that Nascar should look into other options. Try smaller engines and working on an aero package that still gives us great racing, but doesn’t require a drafting partner to make a pass for the lead.

  4. Jeff, you mentioned that IndyCar is more about pure racing than NASCAR. While that may be true philosophically, Indy cars are far easier to drive on ovals than stock cars. The Indianapolis 500 is supposedly a world class event, yet its drivers hold the throttle wide open around the whole track at 220 mph. Even at short ovals, Indy drivers are wide open for all but a split second of each lap. Aside from bravery, there’s no doubt that NASCAR drivers showcase a higher level of skill than IndyCar drivers.

    That’s why the All-Star package scares me. Yes it was entertaining, but it reminded me of those lottery style IndyCar races from Texas or Chicago (except much slower). Wide open racing doesn’t require much driver skill, and that’s why I can’t get into IndyCar. If NASCAR goes this route, I will probably walk away from the sport I’ve loved for so long. I want to see the best drivers in the world wrestling ill-handling beasts around the track, balancing on the ragged edge of control. That’s what makes NASCAR special.

  5. This crap is not real racing. I’m a race fan not a gimmick fan. It’s not fair to better drivers like Busch and Harvick that nascar cuts off their ability and the teams hard work. I’m not a fan at all and if they do this every week I want be watching. It takes no skill to run wide open and I hate how everyone is equal. I’m not a fan of that liberal crap. I want real racing. The playoffs and stages are already to much of a gimmick. This package sucks.

  6. Smaller engives. Hefty price tat first, but as I recall Robert Yates was advocating for smaller engines for years. Tweak the aero and you can trash the plates. Much better idea.

  7. Nice shirt, from the Pennsylvania branch of Timbers Army, RCTID.
    I’m torn on the issues that you bring up. I really don’t like the gimmicks that are part of All Star week, but I actually liked this race. I thought that it was competitive. More than any other major racing series, NASCAR seems a bit schizophrenic theses days. Is NASCAR truly a sport or is it mostly an entertainment spectacle? The driver vs driver component is influenced by so many things, including team budgets and a teams’ ability to respond to arbitrary last minute rule changes. There are some very good drivers that will never compete for wins because of sub standard equipment. Maybe the lower speeds of the All Star race allows more drivers to be competitive (see the Dinger). I don’t know.
    For pure entertainment, I recommend Robby Gordon’s Truck series. But the from sporting perspective, I want the individual driver’s skill to be the determining factor. So, I’m still torn about it.

Comments are closed.