“Meh” – RR-AZ
However, NASCAR passing records were broken at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NASCAR introduced the 2019 rules package in full for the first time on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Less horsepower, a bigger spoiler, more overall downforce, more drag and the addition of front nose aero ducts.
With the exception of stage 1, we didn’t see the leader run away from the field. The cars stayed closer together and the stats proved that.
LVMS passing records broken: There were 47 green flag passes for the lead. In total, there were 3,345 green flag passes on the race track. Both of those set new records for Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race winner Joey Logano made 101 green flag passes. Second place finisher Brad Keselowski made 102 and third place finisher Kyle Busch made 101.
Chris Buescher alone made 139 green flag passes during the race.
The most interesting part might be that the race went caution free. That typically produces a race with little passing. Instead, despite the lack of cautions, the new package still broke all the records.
Steve O’Donnell comments on the new rules package
“If you look at the first stage, you certainly saw almost two different races,” NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell stated following the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“What we said from the beginning was we wanted to see the best car still win. If you look to turn two or turn three. You wanted to see the leader and 2nd to have the ability to pass. We saw that.”
“In the last stage, a 100 green flag run with no cautions. The top four within 2.4 seconds. I think better, for sure.”
“But, you know, not satisfied. I’m a race fan first. I liked what I saw. But, I also think there’s more to come, hopefully.”
What did NASCAR forecast?
“You never forecast a caution free race. You had cars sticking together for a longer period, on a restart. What we really wanted on an intermediate track was if you had a long green flag run, the ability to make a pass.”
“It was good to see that guys could come up through the pack. We’ll take this one and head to Phoenix.”
Would would you want to see to make you satisfied?
“It’s not really up to me, it’s the fans. You want higher ratings and you want more butts in seats.”
“You want rivalries out there and drivers getting after it. What happens in that situation is you have more passes for the lead. You have cars closer together.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Erik Jones might have created a new rivalry. The two drivers beat on each other all day long.
“I think we’re on the march to do that. We saw some of that today. But, we can continue to improve upon it.”
A few drivers were a bit critical of the package after the race. Keselowski in particular stated that he wishes the car had better throttle response.
“Every driver is going to have a different opinion. That’s what’s going to make it racing.”
Where does NASCAR go from here?
NASCAR sees the rules change as an improvement. And while the fans are somewhat reluctant to embrace the changes, the stats from the race don’t lie. Yet, there is room for improvement.
But, how does NASCAR adjust the package from here?
“I think, over time. We said from the beginning that this is going to be a season that we’re going to analyze.”
“We’re not going to every race ask, ‘Was that a good race?’ I know fans do that. For us, are you improving on where you wanted to be?”
“If you look at last year versus this year, I would say we are improving. Was it a tremendous improvement? Probably not.”
“As a fan, you want to see lead changes. We saw that today. If you looked in the past, with no cautions, we would have seen someone check out for the whole race and we wouldn’t have seen a lead change.”