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USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

The fourth Cup race of the season unfolded in Phoenix with new adjustments. NASCAR’s biannual modifications to its short-track package saw the light of day on the one-mile track. The new aero rules were designed to ease things a bit for drivers. However, some of them, including Bubba Wallace, argued that the result differed.

Since introducing the seventh-generation car, NASCAR has strived to improve things for both racers and fans. Recently, the addition of a simplified diffuser and a four-inch spoiler tweaked the package. The racing series intended to produce a better show for fans, and more importantly, increase passing. But Bubba Wallace seems to differ.

Bubba Wallace shared a piece of his mind about short-track tweaks

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NASCAR tinkered with the short-track package last year, putting it to the test in December. Six teams were invited to try out a range of potential changes to the set-up. The ultimate goal was to make the car handling smoother in traffic. Eventually, racers would have more opportunities to pass rather than fumbling for moves at every turn.

Yet Bubba Wallace did fumble and found it incredibly difficult to pass his fellow racers on the Avondale-based track last Sunday. His emotions bubbled over in a mid-race frustration. Wallace simmered over the radio: “Just so we’re aware, it’s really, really, really, really f**king hard to pass at this place.”

 

Post-race the stream of his complaints did not stop. Wallace made sure to put out the message to his team. “Whatever the hardest thing y’all done in life… It ain’t got s**t on trying to pass here in Phoenix,” he said.

 

Wallace faced a three-car wreck with 92 laps to go in the race. When he was attempting to go four-wide and make a possible pass, Chase Briscoe nudged him. That sent Wallace ramming into Erik Jones, who slammed against the wall. 

Bubba’s spotter, Freddie Kraft, defended the No. 23 car’s move, saying, “Is there is there a rule against making it for a while? – No, I mean, it’s hard to pass at Phoenix. You make your own luck,” he argued. “If there was a rule against making a four wide let me know because I was four wide.”

William Byron, the 2024 Daytona winner, shared Wallace’s views before Phoenix. He said he “couldn’t get within two, three car lengths of anyone” in Friday’s practice session. However, the aero package was not the only development or perhaps a hindrance in the Phoenix race.

Tire changes stirred less controversy than the aero rules

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Ahead of the Shriner’s Children 500 race in Phoenix, Goodyear brought out a new tire with a thicker gage (tread). The objective was to keep heat in the tires and increase lap-time fall-off. Unlike the aero package, the wider tires got the stamp of approval from many drivers.

Daniel Suarez shared his opinion, “Honestly, I feel like the biggest difference is that we have maybe a little bit more speed in the front-end because the tire is softer.”

Chase Briscoe harbored a more neutral approach. “They change the tire all the time. Not only does it not make the racing look any different, but it’s really hard to tell from inside the car.” He further added, “Typically, the same guys run good every week whether there’s a tire compound change or not.”

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With Bubba Wallace lamenting the short-track changes, let us hope he can maintain his streak of good finishes later in the season.

Read More: “I Wanted To Kill Him” – Bubba Wallace’s Infuriated Spotter Lets Slip Frustrations With Notorious Brad Keselowski