Seemingly, only a few dozen people were in the stands to see it, but the Xfinity cars actually put on a decent show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday.
Why is this important? Well, they tested some new features on the cars - a larger rear spoiler, air ducts, and slapped some restrictor plates on - and those features greatly increased the entertainment value of the race. Yesterday's Xfinity tilt set a record for most lead changes (16), leaders (8), and set the closest finish in the race's brief history: a .108 second margin for William Byron.
This from NASCAR VP of Competition Steve O'Donnell in today's IndyStar:
Fans and media raved about it, too:
Top four cars are running 0.3 second apart after three laps under green. I mean, there's ZERO doubt this package has made it better, right?— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) July 22, 2017
What has taken place in the first 50 laps of today's Cfinity race has been better than the last 7 Brickyard 400s.— Corey Elliot (@CoreyElliot) July 22, 2017
Some of the drivers, like Kyle Busch, complained about restricting the fastest drivers, but who cares? No one wants to see a small handful of lead changes and a winner who dominates the field. Stock cars put on an entertaining show for the first time in forever (ever?) at IMS, and that's a big positive moving forward.
Let's hope we seem some of these changes implemented for the Cup cars when the race shifts to September, and as IMS President Doug Boles says, does a full "reset" for 2018.