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Drivers, Crew Chiefs, and NASCAR Execs All Sound Off on Horsepower Debate

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What’s Happening?

Consensus is rarely reached on any issue, but, it seems NASCAR drivers have found that incredibly rare consensus on horsepower. However, team owners, crew chiefs, and executives do not seem to agree. Here is every comment from all parties this week on increasing horsepower.

Read Also:

  • The short-track package has been criticized heavily by drivers since the Next-Gen car was introduced in 2022. The main reason many point to is a lack of horsepower.
  • These comments are all in light of the previous race at Phoenix Raceway. Drivers complained about it being too difficult to pass, and many fans were not thrilled with the action on the track.
  • Fans are on the drivers’ side when it comes to horsepower. Most fans are clambering for NASCAR to increase horsepower to improve the racing product.

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Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin has been perhaps the most vocal voice for adding horsepower to the current short-track package. This week, he reiterated many of the same thoughts that he has been saying for months now. From more horsepower not increasing costs to teams being able to add horsepower as soon as the following week’s race. Hamlin also extended an olive branch to NASCAR on “Actions Detrimental” saying that all he is asking for is a small bump.

I understand what the people want. I understand what NASCAR wants. I wish we could just meet in the middle? We don’t need 900 horsepower back. It’d be nice, but, those days are gone. I would certainly like to see them just try it. Just try it at a test. It certainly would put, I think, the driver skill more as a showcase, and if we want to create stars, stars are the ones that are good week-in and week-out.

Denny Hamlin

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson joined the Dale Jr. Download on Tuesday, and he opened up about the possibilities that exist with this Next-Gen car and the current engine package. He says that teams could bring as much as 1000 horsepower to the track as soon as next week with no cost increases.

Engine builders and teams are saying it’s not going to cost any different to do it. I’ve heard Scotty Maxim [Hendrick Motorsports’ Director of Powertrain] say the same thing. He’s like, ‘Dude, we could we could bring 1000 horsepower next week, and it would not cost anymore.’ They’re literally taking the engine that I won with at Vegas and making it a 1000 horsepower engine to put in one of Rick’s [Hendrick] personal cars. They’re building it right now, so, they can do it.

Kyle Larson

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick was pleased by some of what he saw from the new short track package at Phoenix, but, he still feels that horsepower needs to be increased. Specifically, Harvick looks at how drivers are using the brakes and the throttle to drive the car through the corner.

I think there were a lot of things that were that were positive about about the package this weekend. I still think it’s got to have more than 1000 horsepower. I watch those foot cams, and I don’t know, for the life of me, I cannot understand why we want to keep spending millions and millions of dollars on CFD and wind tunnels and changing parts and changing pieces and doing all the things that we do…I watched the foot cam in the 48 Car this weekend, we had it on the broadcast, talking about the laps and and it’s brake, come right off the brake. To me it needs to be, brake, oh my God I’m fearing for my life, Corner, High Pucker-Factor down the straight. I need to slow this thing down way more than than what I think I need to.

Kevin Harvick

Chris Rice

Chris Rice joined Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday morning, and he explained more about why a horsepower increase could hurt the on-track product. Most specifically, he talked about how increased horsepower would spread the field out.

If we give them more horsepower, the field is going to be spread out because the handling is going to be so much worse. The field of handling is going to be spread becuase you’re going to run through the corner, the car may not handle as well, or [other cars] may handle better.

Chris Rice

Matt Swiderski

Daniel Suarez’s crew chief, Matt Swiderski, commented on adding horsepower. Swiderski would love to ask horsepower, but, he’s not convinced it would help the on-track product. He seems to agree with Rice’s take that increased horsepower would spread the field out.

For selfish reasons, I’d love to do it [increase horsepower]. Growing up, watching the sport, and when I first got into it in the early 2000s, the technology and the power and the soung and the RPMs they were turning was incredible. I’d love to see that again. Am I convinced that it would fix everything and make the racing perfect, absolutely not. There’s a lot more that goes into it.

Matt Swiderski

NASCAR: Brad Moran

However, it seems NASCAR is not keen on increasing horsepower unless they have to. The NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director, Brad Moran commented on how the current horsepower number helps the Cup Series bring in a new manufacturer. However, he did not shut the door on adding horsepower at some point.

Once we open up the horsepower, we have to have the 3 manufacturers obviously on-board. As soon as you open that up, there’s going to be development, there’s going to be reliability issues. Again, putting that cost back into the engine builders category where they certainly will develop and start developing the engines…The number we’re at seems to be where we wnat to be to try to get, potentially, a new manufacturer interested…We’re always open to everything. We do consider everythng, and the engine gets talked about quite often, but there’s a lot fo different parties that have to agree before that one can happen.

Brad Moran

Everyone seems to have an opinion on increasing horsepower. While the drivers feel one way, the executives have differing opinions.

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