Yesterday, Kyle Larson got the win at Martinsville at the NOCO 400.
However, another star driver wasn’t afraid to speak his mind about how difficult it was to pass this past weekend…
And it was Denny Hamlin.
According to Motorsport.com, Hamlin said:
“The package was terrible – it’s either the package or the tires. You can’t pass. Cars that I was lapping 10 laps before, we caught caution, and I couldn’t pass them for second. It’s very difficult.
Next Gen racing is all about strategy, execution on pit road… that’s who wins. Rarely does the car that dominates or the best car win, simply because you can’t control the race when you need to – at least we couldn’t.
We made a great strategy call at the end to get positions back.”
However, the winner didn’t necessarily see a difference between this year and last year.
“I guess as far as the aero stuff, I didn’t notice anything different with this package here compared to last year.
Yeah, it’s just I think Phoenix I felt a little bit different. Richmond I felt a lot better with it. And here, if you would have told me that we had the same package (as last year), I would agree.”
The new rules package involves two-inch spoiler and the removal of three diffuser strakes and engine panel strakes, which led to a 30% drop in downforce.
Joey Logano believes that everybody felt the difference, considering how much the cars slipped at Richmond and Phoenix:
“I’m pretty sure everybody kind of saw it. It’s really challenging to pass still. It’s kind of interesting how some tracks it’s definitely improved it and at some tracks it hasn’t.
Richmond was a much better race. Here at Martinsville, I’d say we probably have to go back to the drawing board to try and find something else to help racing a little bit more.”
Logano also admitted that the closeness of the field on speed is another issue:
“They gave us a box with cars that are all identical. Well, we’re all going to end up running that same speed for the most part.
When all the cars are within a tenth (of a second) of each other, you can’t pass. There’s got to be more speed differential through the field.”
Denny Hamlin currently sits at 9th in the Cup Series standings, with Christopher Bell currently leading the pack.