NASCAR has received a ton of criticism in recent years, and the backlash usually is warranted.

But on Tuesday, NASCAR announced something that seemingly has the support of everyone who cares about the sport, including its most important figures.

Beginning next season, NASCAR will implement a new aerodynamics package that will lower downforce at all tracks shorter than 1.1 miles and road courses. The new package, viewed as a common-sense change by many around the sport, arrives after a year’s worth of frustration over how last season’s rules changes negatively impacted the quality of racing at short tracks and road courses.

The package introduced in 2019 required increased downforce while decreasing horsepower, and thus reduced flat-out speed. The intention was — and remains — for top drivers to be less able to run away and hide during races. Additionally, the rules enabled drivers to have more control over their vehicles, resulting in heightened safety. But premier drivers like Busch insisted the rules operate like training wheels and hamper their abilities to demonstrate their skills.

The overall results of the package are up for debate, but what cannot be denied is that racing at short tracks was utterly unwatchable. With a reduction in power and already little room to pass, drivers at short tracks essentially lived out a NASCAR hater’s favorite criticism: They turned left a bunch of times in extremely boring fashion. Hopefully, these new rules will bring excitement back to some of NASCAR’s marquee events.

“Our first and foremost core goal is to deliver great racing, and I think that we constantly evaluate the things that we do on the race track, however and wherever we need to, to improve that situation for them,” John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing and development, said in a statement. “And as part of our normal ongoing critique of ourselves and how we’re doing, we just felt like this was a good opportunity for us to improve the on-track product at the short tracks and road courses.”

For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts, here’s some useful context from FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass:

As we mentioned earlier, the announcement has been well received in the NASCAR community.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular NASCAR driver on the planet, was among those pleased by the news.

Now, there’s no guarantee this change turns out to be an unqualified win for NASCAR. Some maintain that wide-open racing isn’t necessary, despite the sport’s issues with attracting younger fans. Much like when new rules are implemented in other sports, there surely will be a conversation about the “soul” or “spirit” of stock car racing.

In particular, it will be interesting to see how the new rules impact tracks like the mile-long New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where flat corners arguably necessitate higher downforce.

“We applaud NASCAR for always working to find ways to better our sport for our fans,” NHMS executive vice president David McGrath said in a statement. “Over the last few years, New Hampshire Motor Speedway has had some thrilling last-lap battles to the finish and this new short track rules update will absolutely add to the excitement and great racing that we expect.”

At the end day, these rules aren’t a cure-all for everything that ails NASCAR. After all, the new package impacts only nine of the 24 tracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

But it nonetheless is a start, and a much-needed one at that.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Laberge/Getty Images