🏎 More, Please

Drivers and fans call on NASCAR to increase Horsepower

Good morning! What does a horse and NASCAR have in common?

They are both “neigh” sayers when it comes to more horsepower.

Parker’s POV

NASCAR Can Learn From Steve Jobs

Written by: Parker Kligerman

Steve Jobs once said, “Packaging can be theater; it can create a story.” Little did he know how prescient this would be in regards to NASCAR over the last decade. If there is one word that I wish would leave the vernacular of the NASCAR world, it’s “package.”

Although Steve was referencing Apple's incredible attention to detail, such that even their packaging was something so good people don’t like to throw it out, be honest, how many iPhone boxes have you kept around just because it seems far too pretty to throw away?

Yet in NASCAR, the word "package" is a lot more UPS cardboard box and less Tiffany's turquoise memories. It’s a catch-all for attempting to manufacture a certain type of result out of a group who are highly paid and determined to make this result not a reality.

Race teams and drivers, although they hope for a great show, are incentivized to create the most boring show possible. If every team and driver had their ideal race, it would be winning the pole, leading every lap, and getting to kiss the champagne bottle. NASCAR, on the other hand, as an entertainment property, does not want that. Although it is a sport and if someone "hits it" it’s fine to let it happen, their goal is the exact opposite.

In a perfect race, every car would have a shot at leading, there would be wild moments of daring moves, and a few that went wrong. It would all culminate with a multi-car side-by-side-by-side-by-side finish with smoke and sparks. The winner would be decided by mere centimeters, and the crowd would all turn to each other screaming, then for the rest of time tell their friends, “I was there.”

Now, we all know that isn’t possible every time, but on the scale of dominating victory to Atlanta 2024 finish, NASCAR’s job is to try to be as close to Atlanta as possible. They do this with packages or, more specifically, rule sets that can potentially alter the racecar and how it races.

Forcing the teams to adapt and hopefully getting their desired result. The problem with packages is just that: they are packages. Plucked, prodded, sliced, diced, and stretched like the faces on Housewives Of LA. The racecars become odd examples of their initial selves, and the result isn’t always guaranteed; sometimes it goes wrong.

This past weekend was the unveiling of NASCAR's new short track package for the NASCAR Cup Series, and it was, well, eh? I think it was better; some drivers thought it was worse, and others noticed no change at all. Yet, it also dominated the airwaves and social media conversation well past the checkered flag.

Because it seems this idea of packaging a concept of trying to create a specific type of racing is compelling to fans, media, and the drivers. Therefore, if we are going to keep packages as an ever-moving target, maybe we can learn from Steve Jobs and Apple.

Make them into theater. Let the fans vote on the specific levers that are pulled. Less downforce for Phoenix 2025? Here comes a vote. Think there should be a 1000 HP package? Here is the vote. Want a softer tire? Let’s vote on it.

Otherwise, we are going to stay in this odd middle ground of packages being an opaque catch-all for NASCAR trying to make something happen, that most likely won’t.

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More, Please

Kyle Larson recently added his thoughts on the NASCAR horsepower debate, advocating for a boost on short tracks and road courses. Contrary to NASCAR's cost concerns, Larson insists, "We could bring 1000 HP and it wouldn’t cost more," aligning with Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski's push for more power.

Speaking on The Dale Jr Download, Larson highlights the marginal improvements in racing dynamics, especially with the new short track package leading to slightly easier passing.

Despite NASCAR's reluctance, citing cost and new manufacturers as barriers, Larson challenges this stance with insights from Hendrick Motorsports, suggesting that increasing horsepower wouldn’t inflate budgets. "I’ve heard Scott Maxim say we could bring 1000 horsepower next week and it wouldn’t cost more," Larson adds, questioning the real reasons behind NASCAR's horsepower cap.

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