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Why Do Fans HATE The Xfinity Superspeedway Package at Indianapolis and Michigan?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

On Friday, NASCAR released the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series rules package schedule for the season. The major highlight was a superspeedway engine package being used in Michigan and Indianapolis. Fans were not happy with this switch, but, why were they so upset?

  • The Xfinity Series will use a superspeedway engine package along with an intermediate aero package at Indianapolis and Michigan. This is the same package used at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • The Xfinity Series has tried a superspeedway-style package at both of these tracks before. Most recently, they tried this in the late 2010s, and it was the genesis of the high-downforce, high-drag package used in the Cup Series at the end of the Next-Gen era.
  • Fans are not happy with this rules package. They think back to the first time this type of rules package was tried, and they are not thrilled to see it come back.

What Is the Superspeedway Engine Package?

The superspeedway engine package is a restricted engine package used primarily on, you guessed it, superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega. The idea is to decrease speed by decreasing the horsepower using things like restrictor plates and tapered spacers. This stems from a 1987 Cup Series race at Talladega, where high speeds caused Bobby Allison to have a horrifying crash, where he nearly few into the grandstands.

Since then, NASCAR has implemented some sort of engine restrictions throughout its’ National Touring Series. While originally intended as a safety enhancement, the restrictor plates produced tight packs of cars all running at similar speeds, which made the racing either more exciting, more dangerous, or both depending on who you ask. However, the tight pack racing at superspeedways made NASCAR think, what if they brought this to other tracks?

Why Did Fans HATE The Original Package?

In the late 2010s, NASCAR had a problem in both the Xfinity and the Cup Series. The racing product at large, unrestricted ovals was simply not good, so, they decided to try something radical. In 2017, NASCAR implemented a new Xfinity Series rules package at Indianapolis, similar to the one used at superspeedways. The goal was to bring the cars closer together, therefore making it easier to pass.

The result was a record number of lead changes, and William Byron winning in a close finish over Paul Menard. NASCAR was pleased with what they saw, and they brought the package back to Michigan and Pocono the next year. Eventually, a similar package was implemented in the Cup Series on all intermediate tracks from 2019 until 2021, the 550 horsepower package.

So, if it produced a closer finish and more lead changes at Indianapolis, why do many fans and even some drivers loathe it so much? Well, the package had a few drawbacks.

First off, the increased downforce and lower power meant the cars were much less squirrely and easier to drive. The high drag also increased the dirty air behind the leading car, which made it difficult to follow and difficult to pass. While the racing was closer, many argued that the racing was not as compelling.

Well, regardless of what fans feel about it, the package is being implemented in 2024. Will it work?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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