Skip to main content

Brad Keselowski advocates for more NASCAR Cup practice

He says teams have not saved money under the status quo

NASCAR: Cup Practice & Qualifying
Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

From his standpoint, Brad Keselowski has not seen any of the cost containment promised by the reduction of practice at the NASCAR Cup Series level in recent seasons.

A byproduct of the pandemic era schedules, in which NASCAR eliminated practice sessions altogether, the sanctioning body then opted for what amounted to 15 minutes to shake down cars right before qualifying over the first three years of the NextGen era.

The lone exceptions has been the race weekends where NASCAR has a new competition package and championship race weekends.

“I haven’t seen how we’ve saved any money getting rid of practice, not from a team perspective,” Keselowski said on Tuesday during a media availability at the new NASCAR productions facility in Concord, North Carolina.

“Maybe there were some savings other places in the industry that I’m not aware of but there hasn’t been a significant cost savings. We’ve reallocated in a lot of way to other demands, and it’s hard for me to understand the value proposition today to not have practice.”

So, is the 2012 Cup Series champion and co-owner of RFK Racing in favor of additional practice over the course of the season?

“Yeah, I’m more than comfortable with it,” Keselowski said. “I would say I’m an advocate for it.”

The elimination of full practice sessions has forced teams and manufacturers to allocate funds into simulation programs and Keselowski says the costs match or exceed what turning laps on race weekends did.

“We put a lot of money and time into race car simulation,” Keselowski said. “Whether that’s simulating the car statically with how it would perform aerodynamically in consideration to other things or whether it’s kind of a multi-body physics model, which is simulating the car going around the track. So very dynamically.

“We continue to make a lot of investments, and we’re not the only ones. Really, everybody is making those investments. Although, I hesitate to say we wouldn’t want to still keep those in a practice environment, there’s undoubtedly the conclusion that we wouldn’t have had to invest so heavily had we not lost practice.

“I feel like it’s never a good idea for our sport, when in cost consideration mode, move spending away from things that our spectators can enjoy and view or media can cover or discuss and move into areas that they cannot. I think if you look at the allocation of resources, that is what happened.”

This runs counter to an argument made by Denny Hamlin back in January on the first episode this season of his Actions Detrimental podcast.

“It has to be financially viable for the teams to do it,” said Hamlin, “That’s the bottom line or you’re going to have one or two teams fall out of business every single year.

“If we had to do full practice, pre-COVID, to 2019, there’s no way 23XI would be able to sustain that. There’s no way. What we budget for sponsorship and what we get from NASCAR, it just does not make sense.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: