The Mondays: Did NASCAR at Las Vegas Live Up To Expectations?

No.

Well, maybe.

NASCAR 2019 aero package made its full debut on Sunday at Las Vegas. Some people in the called this race “NASCAR’s most important race in a decade” which is an outrageous statement. Sunday was just a race in Las Vegas with a package people over hyped.

Sunday certainly garnered a lot of interest and posed a lot of questions. Would cars stay bunched up? Is this going to look like a Daytona race? How many passes for the lead are we going to see?

Kind of, no, and not that many actually.

Sunday’s race was a weird one. Not because anything crazy happened, it was actually one of the calmest races of the last decade. The race ran natural caution free for the first time since Talladega 2002. No incidents just 255 laps of green flag racing was certainly something we didn’t expect to see.

Was The Racing Better?

Great question astute reader.

Yes, well, kind of. Stage 1 was potentially the worst first stage possible for this new package. Kevin Harvick got out front and drove away from the field. Something people didn’t think would be possible for some reason. Handling still matters, and clean air is still king. Neither of those should shock people but it appeared to.

Sunday at Las Vegas did produce more green flag passing:

We did see three-wide racing in the stage. Side by side passing in the pack occurred but seldom up front. Stage 2 featured the best battle for the lead between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. That battle was destined to end with them throwing hands after the race again but Kyle got a pit road speeding penalty.

Was It Entertaining?

Ehhhh kind of. Listen the restarts were compelling. But all restarts are interesting for the most part. Cars certainly stayed bunched up through the field, however cars still got strung out. Passing was incredibly hard and frustrating at times and clean air plays a MASSIVE role with this new package. Kurt Busch getting out front and leading after only taking two tires was a perfect example of that.

With drivers running flat out momentum was key since there was no throttle response. No throttle response made it hard to pass. The bigger spoiler allowed for cars to suck up more which led to some huge runs. Kyle Busch down the front stretch splitting lap cars with Logano was a prime example. As drivers get a better understanding of how this package races the overall show should get better.

There have certainly been worse races at Las Vegas. And there have definitely been worse 1.5-mile races, looking at you Kentucky. Could have been better could have been worse. NASCAR VP Steve O’Donnell wasn’t entirely pleased with what he saw and the sport will take a look at it.

Texas will be the next race we get a look at this package and then Kansas after that. At least give it until after Kansas before you start calling for peoples heads.

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