NASCAR VP: Better Tires Key to Improving Short Track Racing

NASCAR's Elton Sawyer believes improving short track racing with the Next Gen car requires better tires, not increased horsepower. Sawyer cites successful races at Bristol and Richmond as evidence that optimized tire compounds can produce exciting short track action.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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NASCAR VP: Better Tires Key to Improving Short Track Racing

NASCAR VP: Better Tires Key to Improving Short Track Racing

NASCAR senior vice president Elton Sawyer believes that improving short track racing with the Next Gen car requires better tires, not increased horsepower. Sawyer cites successful races at Bristol and Richmond as data points to support his claim.

"Improving short track racing with the Next Gen car requires better tires, not increased horsepower,"Sawyer stated. The NASCAR VP's comments come as the sport looks to enhance the on-track product and competitiveness at short tracks with its new Next Gen vehicle.

The Next Gen car, introduced in 2022, features a number of technical changes compared to the previous generation Cup Series car. These include a sequential gearbox, independent rear suspension, 18-inch wheels with lower profile tires, and a symmetric body design.

While some have suggested that increasing engine power could lead to better racing on short tracks, Sawyer believes the key lies in improved tire compounds that provide more mechanical grip. He points to compelling races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway as evidence that the Next Gen car can produce exciting short track action when paired with the right tires.

NASCAR has workedclosely with exclusive tire supplier Goodyear to develop tires tailored to the unique characteristics of the Next Gen car. The sanctioning body aims to strike a balance between durability and performance, enabling drivers to race hard while managing tire wear over long green flag runs.

As NASCAR continues to refine the Next Gen car and its tire packages, Sawyer remains confident that the sport is on the right track to deliver captivating short track races. With a focus on optimizing tire compounds rather than relying on raw horsepower, NASCAR hopes to create an environment where driver skill and strategy play a pivotal role in determining the outcome at some of the most historic and beloved venues on the schedule.