Vegas Race May Resemble 2014-2015 Races, says Carl Edwardsby Kyle Pokrefky March 4, 2016 0 comments
The Sprint Cup Series’s new low-downforce aero package has provided plenty of great racing in the three races it’s been utilized in thus far, but Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway may have a different look, says Carl Edwards.
The new package this year boasts reductions in the sizes of the rear spoiler, the leading splitter’s edge and in the size of the radiator pan – all modifications made to promote more passing by generating more off-throttle time.
While the package will remain the same for all non-restrictor plate races this season, not all races will play out in the same fashion. The action that occurred at Atlanta Motor Speedway won’t necessarily be replicated at tracks like Kansas Speedway or Darlington Raceway.
Speaking at Las Vegas on Thursday during an open test leading into Sunday’s Kobalt 400, Edwards stated that the weekend’s race definitely won’t resemble the race from one week ago. If anything, it may resemble the races on intermediate tracks from both 2014 and 2015.
“This race is going to be more like the races we saw last year and in the year before that,” Edwards said. “Like I said, the speeds are just high. There’s still a ton of corner speed and a ton of throttle time.
“Honestly, it’s going to be a little treacherous because you always want the car to be free and regardless of how fast we’re going, there’s still less air to lean on with the smaller spoiler and all of that. I think it’s going to be tough.”
The driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing noted that he underestimated the speed the cars have been carrying into and through the corners during the test.
“I think the biggest surprise is just how fast the cars are going,” Edwards stated. “In my mind, I envisioned the lower downforce package being slower, but the cars are really fast.”
With higher than anticipated speeds being carried throughout the racing surface, one wonders if there will be enough off-throttle time to carry the rate of passing from Atlanta over to Las Vegas.
As Edwards puts it after one day of testing – it’s hard to get a proper idea as to what exactly to expect in terms of passing on Sunday, but it’ll certainly be an improvement over last year’s Las Vegas race.
“I’m not sure yet,” the two-time Las Vegas race winner said of his Sunday expectations. “It looks like in Turns 1 and 2 right now where it appears that we’re running the most, the rubber is getting really slick, so that will lend itself to guys getting out of the throttle and having trouble there.
“There’s a couple of bumps there, so that’ll make it a little dicey for people. Those are the things that give you opportunities to get a guy. I think it’s a little early yet to tell, but it looks like it’ll be better than it was last year.”
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images