NASCAR ride height rule criticized with boring short-track racing

The race at Martinsville Speedway had the industry wondering what could be done to fix the problem.

On Saturday night, the NASCAR Cup Series unloaded at Martinsville Speedway. It was a short track race, where drama is expected.

Last night he proved that he is a clue that he can do that. It was a race that went all the way with Ty Gibbs losing the lead in the closing laps. Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer even shook hands after the end of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

NASCAR fight between Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer at Martinsville (Video)

However, the following night, when the NASCAR Cup Series took the stage, the race went through two full stages without a caution. And there weren’t many passes either, across the board.

The race almost ended with excitement. With 7 laps to go, a warning was issued when a car hit the wall. It was the first yellow flag, excluding stage breaks. Joey Logano tried to hit William Byron’s bumper and steal the race win from him. However, Byron stopped him and earned his second win of the season.

Instead, they went 400 laps without a single green-flag pass for the race lead. Byron took the lead at a pit stop and led 212 laps en route to victory.

A warning at the end of a race on a short track can be a game changer. It may produce a grand finale, but what about the other 390 laps of the show? Those questions have arisen.

NASCAR’s short tracks used to be the bread and butter of the sport. Years ago, however, those tracks began to be phased out, in favor of new, cookie-cutter-shaped 1.5-mile ovals.

However, short tracks have been the focus of the calendar in recent years. Especially, the championship final that is now taking place at the 1-mile track at Phoenix Raceway.

Did NASCAR Rule Changes Break Up Short Tracks?

NASCAR Short Tracks (Cup Series): LA Coliseum; Richmond Raceway; Martinsville Expressway, Bristol Motor Expressway; New Hampshire Highway; phoenix race track

Bad short track racing is not a new problem. How did we get here?

According to Clint Bowyer and Chad Knaus, the problem stems from a rule change made in 2014. The rule in question is actually the lack of it. Since 2014, there has been no ride height rule in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Without that rule, teams can set the noses of their cars directly on the ground around the track. Aerodynamic grip trumps mechanical grip.

The NASCAR Next Gen car was expected to reduce reliance on aerodynamics. However, that doesn’t seem to have helped the product on tracks shorter than 1 mile.

Sure, the cars have a chance to bump and bang because of the composite bodies. That’s good because it seems like it’s the only way to pass on short tracks in recent years.

Clint Bowyer and Chad Knaus comment on NASCAR’s short tracks

Clint Bowyer asked: “This has to be fixed next week. What do you do for a living? The boss comes up to you and says, ‘I don’t care. Something has to change next week. “

Chad Knaus responded: “You know, something that’s interesting, I feel like our careers have kind of sunk into short tracks a little bit. And you’re going to laugh a little about this. That’s when we eliminated the ride height rules.”

Clint Bowyer jumps in exuberantly: “I swear to God, I’ve said it a million times. I’m telling you, you can go back and look, he flipped the switch, at that point. Why didn’t they ever look at that again?

“I mean, I’m telling you it appears, like, in black and white. I’m so glad you said that. I have preached that for 10 years.”

At the time, Bowyer was so excited that he had to stand in the broadcast booth. He took a pen and drew a line on a piece of paper. Visual display of change in short track racing.

Bowyer concluded: “That’s when it happened. And nobody ever says it! I’m so glad you said that. You are the only person who ever agreed with me. I thought he was a complete idiot.”

Driver Feedback After Martinsville
Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric - Martinsville Speedway - NASCAR Cup Series
MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – APRIL 9: Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Advance Auto Parts Ford, and Austin Cindric, driver of the #2 Menards/Moen Ford, compete during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 9, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Joey Logano stated, “Hard to pass.”

Ryan Blaney added: “It was very, very difficult to pass.”

“You could run someone over right away, be two or three tenths faster than them. So just stop. I couldn’t even get to it, put the bumper on it, that was the worst part.”

Blaney added: “That was a bit unfortunate tonight. Hopefully we can figure out how to make it better by coming back here in the fall.”

Aric Almirola confirmed: “The court position play was really strong tonight. Everyone would start running at the same speed after about 30 laps.”

Martinsville Race Results: April 9, 2022 (NASCAR Cup Series)


Martinsville Expressway | NASCAR