NASCAR President Steve Phelps and Chief Operating Officer Steve O’Donnell gave the annual State of the Sport Friday at Phoenix Raceway and then addressed numerous issues during a question-and-answer session with the media.
An EV Race Car
O’Donnell says a great deal of work around an electric vehicle has occurred at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center. He says they have a car and an alternative body style with that car. However, he says he would not look for NASCAR specifically to go racing with it. O’Donnell is going to Japan after the season ends to look at hydrogen racing.
The demolition of the 2-mile California Speedway, which was built by Roger Penske and opened in 1997, has begun. Phelps says a short track will be built in its place, “most likely” a half-mile track. He says they are “ready to go when the time is right.”
Racing In Montreal
O’Donnell dispelled rumors that the race at Iowa Speedway came on the schedule in place of Montreal. He said that “in an ideal world we actually wanted to potentially bring on both race tracks.” When NASCAR goes into a marketplace, “we want to make sure we have all the levers in place to not just kind of come in and out, we want to build NASCAR within that particular country or marketplace.” O’Donnell said that as they continued to talk with Montreal, they realized they were a “little quick” to achieve their objective.
Phelps declined to give specifics of the ongoing negotiations. However, he said if the race teams were asked if they thought progress was being made with NASCAR regarding the extension of the Cup charters the response would be yes. The charters are scheduled to expire at the end of 2024. The teams have wanted the charters to exist in perpetuity. Phelps wants to complete the new TV contract before finalizing the Charter agreement. He says last week’s meeting with a team owner council focused entirely on charters and charter extensions.
Short Track, Road Course Package
The drivers met with Goodyear Friday to discuss the race and rules package for the short tracks and road courses. O’Donnell says they have not discounted increasing the horsepower, but the cost must be factored in and all of the OEMS must agree. O’Donnell says they are looking specifically at shifting at the next test and aero things that can be done with the underbody.
Stage Breaks in Road Course Events
In all of the road course events in the regular season, NASCAR eliminated the stage breaks. When the playoffs began, stage breaks were reinstated for the road course event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. O’Donnell says he’s 99 percent sure there will be “some type of stage break” in 2024 in the road course events.