Bell wins Phoenix; NASCAR loses on aero package

Okay, maybe loses is a strong word after today. In fact Sunday’s race wasn’t even bad, but it was just ‘eh’. 

Here’s what Sunday’s winner Christopher Bell had to say about the aero package. 

“It was different. I don’t think that it was any better in traffic. It drove different. The car handled significantly different. I’m sure that the racing probably didn’t look much better, but it was different inside the car.”

Different is a better word to describe the package for sure, but is different better? Maybe Phoenix isn’t the right track to test it on. Phoenix isn’t known for its amazing racing and its barn burner of event’s. In fact, it’s known for the exact opposite, lack luster and dry. 

So when will we know whether this package is good or bad? My bet is by Martinsville. 

That gives the teams a chance to run the concrete at Bristol, turn left and right at Circuit of the America’s, and hopefully not fall asleep during the Richmond race on Easter weekend. Each track had its significant issues with the old aero package during its races last year. Hopefully, we will see an uptick in competitiveness in those events. 

Even with today’s race being just okay, Bell said the race for the championship on this exact track come November, the racing will be different. 

“Just because everyone is going to have so much more development time on this aero package. We showed up, and the Hendrick cars clearly missed it this week, right? They’re not going to miss in November whenever a championship is on the line and they’ve had however many races to get their setup dialed in. Clearly the JGR cars and the Toyota group hit on the setup the best. We saw that in 2022 whenever Next Gen was first introduced, the Fords smoked everybody this race. It just takes time with these changes to optimize it. We’re on the winning side of it this time. But the field is going to be tighter and I would expect the favorites are going to be up front whenever we come back in November.”

By the time we reach Phoenix in November, who really knows what the racing will be like? Only time will tell on whether NASCAR fixed what broke. 

Kaleb Vestal
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