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Why are Fans Upset About NASCAR’s Phoenix Tests?

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What’s Happening?

NASCAR is amidst a two-day short track package test at Phoenix. However, the test has garnered controversy amongst the fanbase. What are some of the things that fans are the most upset about regarding this test?

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You Need to Know:

  • This test has been controversial for many reasons. First, fans are asking for certain changes to the cars to improve short-track racing, but, NASCAR is not budging on some of them. It is also the debut of new race cars, and not all fans are sold on how they look.
  • The short-track package has been lackluster since the Next-Gen car was introduced. NASCAR made many changes throughout 2023 to help the package, but it still was not the result fans were looking for.
  • Some fans on social media are cautiously optimistic about certain changes. Other changes, fans are not so thrilled with.

No Horsepower Increase

This goes back to the week before the Phoenix test. NASCAR seems adamant about keeping the horsepower as is for the time being. Steve Phelps had this to say in a webinar in late November according to Nate Ryan of NBC Sports.

I don’t think the answer is more horsepower because more horsepower is expensive. If you ask a driver what’s going to solve it, they’re always going to say ‘Give me more horsepower.’ It’s a thing. I’m not a driver, but I’ve listened to enough drivers and that’s their solution. So the question is is that really what it is? I don’t know. I think there’s some gearing things that we’re looking at as well. Some shifting things.

Steve Phelps

Many fans, such as Jon Pilat, took exception to this comment. He pointed to Phelps saying that drivers wanted a horsepower increase, but Phelps refused to commit to that.

NASCAR is not testing any increase in horsepower this weekend. Many fans and drivers alike want to see that specific change made to the short-track package, but NASCAR is not doing that. It causes many to question if this test will lead to the desired result.

Getting Rid of Shifting

NASCAR has reportedly thought of extreme measures to eliminate shifting. Bob Pockrass reports that NASCAR considered black-flagging drivers for shifting during a race.

NASCAR is not implementing that, at least immediately. However, fans still chimed in about how ridiculous this idea was. Whatsundersteer made the comparison to his 7th-grade art teacher.

NASCAR is trying a new transaxle to eliminate shifting on short tracks. That could partially solve the problem based on how this test goes.

What it does do is show that NASCAR is trying to do everything aside from the one thing fans and drivers are asking for, adding horsepower. CorvetteRacin48 pointed this out on social media.

The New Toyota

Unrelated to the short track package, the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse and Toyota Camry XSE debuted during the test. Not every fan liked how the new Toyota looked on track. Alex Bell was one who was not a fan of the new Toyota.

Regardless of how it looks, racing well on the track is the most important thing to Toyota and their race teams in 2024. Should the car race well, will fan sentiment be more positive?

Maybe it will, but not every fan hates the new Toyota. Brock Beard is one who likes the new Toyota bodies.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but, once again, it’s more about how the car races. That’s something we will not know until they unload at Daytona in February.

The Phoenix test has some major controversy surrounding it. Will the results lead to even more controversy?

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Joshua Lipowski

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