New NASCAR aero package gets mixed reviews during testing

Kyle Busch doesn't like the 2019 aerodynamic package NASCAR has implemented for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at 1.5-mile tracks.

“We’ve taken the skill away from the driver in this package,” Busch said during a test session at his home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. “Anybody could go out there and run around wide open. You could probably do it.”

Fourteen teams/drivers, including Busch's #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, participated in the two-day test that included both single-car runs and drafting sessions. Up to 17 cars were on the track at times, including three "wheel force" cars representing the three manufacturers -- Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota -- participating in NASCAR's top series.

The new aero package includes air ducts and a tapered spacer aimed at decreasing engine power to approximately 550 hp. NASCAR hopes to improve racing by creating tighter racing, resulting in drafting.

Darrell Wallace Jr. didn't think his drive was as easy and Busch made it sound.

"When we got in the pack, it was a little bit of a handful, and we’ve still got to work on passing a little bit,” Wallace said.

Busch, though, doesn't think the new aero package will produce much passing, especially up front.

NASCAR officials in attendance at the test, including Vice President of Innovastion and Racing Development John Probst and NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, were happy with what they saw.

“This is a journey,” NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development John Probst told “We started a few years ago trying to bring more entertaining and competitive racing to our sport. This was the first time we got to see 14 cars go out there and run 25 laps. So far, so good.”