SPARTA, Ky. – Brad Keselowski is an avid proponent of different strokes for different tracks—and the logic of his position is impeccable.
NASCAR is trying out a new low-downforce aerodynamic configuration for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway and plans to repeat the process Sept. 6 at Darlington. The most visible element of the new package is a spoiler reduced in height from six inches to 3.5 inches.
At Indianapolis in July and at Michigan in August, NASCAR will unveil a higher-drag-and-downforce package the sanctioning body hopes will enhance the quality of racing at those two venues.
Conceptually, it’s a giant step for NASCAR, which is embracing the notion that different competitive configurations may be appropriate for each of its unique race tracks, much as a professional golfer might change his arsenal of clubs for each different course.
It’s a mind-set Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, supports unequivocally.
“I’m in that camp and on that team that says that’s what it’s going to take our sport to the next level, as far as the quality of racing is concerned,” Keselowski said, “is developing genre-specific packages for the tracks with the realization that, when the Car of Tomorrow (2007) and the Generation-6 car (2013) came out, I think it was designed to perform at a higher level at the plate tracks and, in some way, whether it was intentional or not, the road courses.
“And we’ve seen the road course races and the plate tracks in that time – the last seven or eight years – kind of turn into some of what I think most of the industry and its fans would recognize as the best racing our sport has to offer right now.”
Keselowski believes that designing specific competition packages for specific tracks will provide a series-wide improvement in the quality of the racing.
“We feel like, as drivers, we know the package that we need to put on the best racing, and it’s somewhere around the marks that we had 10 years ago, downforce-wise, power-wise, et cetera,” Keselowski said. “But the reality was that was not perhaps the best racing for road courses and superspeedways in terms of both the quality of racing and the safety perspective.
“So I think what that comes back to is kind of a self-awareness that the sport is starting to grow, that I’m very supportive of, that running the same rules package or car at every race track, despite glaring differences in layouts, is probably not in the best interest of this sport.
“To see us grow self-aware of that as I’ve seen over the last month, I think, is a very bright spot for the sport and its future in terms of the quality of racing… I’m really supportive of that and think that could be very significant for our sport going forward.”