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NASCAR All-Star Race Provides Glimpse Into NASCAR’s Future

This past Sunday was a good day for IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske. After sweeping the front row for the Indy 500, Penske driver Joey Logano dominated and won the NASCAR All-Star race at North Wilkesboro. Here are my takeaways from NASCAR’s All-Star race.

North Wilkesboro

The All-Star race was at North Wilkesboro for the second year in a row. However, this year, the race was run on new asphalt as the track had been repaved. While the race wasn’t as exciting as we would have wanted, it was a pretty good race. There was some excellent side-by-side racing and even some three-wide action. For me, the most impressive thing about the race, besides Logano leading all but one lap, was Kyle Larson finishing fourth after qualifying fifth for the Indy 500. Larson hadn’t been on track at North Wilkesboro until the race started, so finishing in the top five is impressive.

On Friday Nascar announced that the All-Star race will return to North Wilkesboro next year. This is a good decision because the race was good, and the racing at North Wilkesboro will get better as the track’s new asphalt ages and the cars get better.


As mentioned above, North Wilkesboro has new asphalt. Generally, the first race on a repaved track is boring. However, this race wasn’t as dull as repaves usually are. One interesting part about the repave at North Wilkesboro is they didn’t get rid of the bumps in the track. The bumps help give the track “character.” Moving forward, I think all repaves should be similar to those in North Wilkesboro. When a track gets repaved, they should keep what makes that track unique. Doing that will make the first race on a repaved track, just like at North Wilkesboro, will be good.

Tires/Short Track Package

As TDT Media’s Everett Davison notes, races on short tracks with NASCAR’s Next Gen car haven’t been exciting. The spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway this year saw unexpected tire wear and forced drivers to manage their tires, and it was a good race. That prompted NASCAR to conduct a tire experiment at the All-Star race. At the All-Star race, there was the regular or primary tire and a softer or option tire. The soft option tire created tire falloff, which is what drivers have been asking for. The soft tires were a major contributor to the race being better than if they had just used the regular tire.

“Did everything go exactly like we thought? No. I think we would have liked to see the tires fall off a little more, and credit to the 22 for doing something that honestly Friday in practice, and working with Goodyear, we didn’t think you could do,” John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing development said. “We didn’t think we’d see somebody run it that long and that hard and have it hold up that well. So the good thing is, we’ve got some tire tests coming up here in the near future at Iowa and Martinsville, and we’ll just get more aggressive. We’ll keep stepping up on it. It’s always hard when we come to a track and you practice in the daylight, you race at night, the track temperature has a lot to do with how the tires perform. So we’re going to stay at it. By no means are we done. We’ll get more aggressive.”

While NASCAR wanted more tire degradation, I think the experiment was a good start in the right direction. I think that NASCAR should try having tire options like what they had at the All-Star race at the intermediate tracks. It would give the teams more options regarding pit stops and make race strategy enjoyable. In addition to the tires, NASCAR could see if they could make any changes to the short-track package to improve it. Tire options could and should be in NASCAR’s future because it'll make the race at all intermediate and short tracks better.

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