By The Numbers: Low Down Force At Phoenix Is Actually Better

Turns out running an 8-inch spoiler with a 2-inch splitter on a flat 1-mile track isn’t the recipe for success.

Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway featured NASCAR’s “new” low downforce package and the results were phenomenal. Instead of a “big ass spoiler” that we saw in 2019, Cup cars are sporting a 2.75″ spoiler with a .25″ splitter in 2020 on tracks 1-mile and shorter as well as on the road courses.

Last season saw some of the most boring races the sport has ever seen on tracks under 1-mile and on the road courses. What were once NASCAR’s most exciting tracks quickly turned into NASCAR’s most dreaded tracks last year. To their credit, they listened to the fans and the drivers.

Phoenix’s Loop Data Blew 2019 Away

Sunday’s race featured more green-flag passes, quality passes, and lead changes since 2015. It’s almost like low downforce, high horsepower, and tire fall off produce good racing.

  • 892 more green-flag passes
  • 454 more quality passes
  • 20 lead changes

Combine the new package, better tire, and the PJ1 traction compound and Phoenix went from one of the worst races last season to one of the better races we’ve seen on the new configuration.

NASCAR VP Steve O’Donnell said after the race that the governing body liked what they saw on Sunday. O’Donnell said it is NASCAR’s intent to use this package on all 1-mile and under tracks along with road courses. It was a weird way of stating they liked what they saw. Mainly because it leaves the door open for changes.

“We had this race to try some things and see if it worked. We hoped it would work. If not, we were going to pull another lever and see what we could do. This was the first big test obviously with the Championship so expect us to stay with this one.” O’Donnell dropped this quote speaking to the media after the race. It’s nice to know they were willing to make more changes if it didn’t work.

Less downforce, more horsepower, tire fall off, and throttle management. THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

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