By AMANDA VINCENT
In an effort to improve the quality of racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, specifically passing up front, NASCAR is going to roll out a new aerodynamic package for the July 11 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell confirmed the changes during a teleconference on Tuesday. Talk of proposed changes debuting at the Kentucky race began last weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
“Following what’s been really well-documented and unprecedented communications and collaboration with our OEM partners, the race teams, drivers and Goodyear, we’ve made the decision to move forward with the package,” O’Donnell said. “So I want to take everybody through the changes that will occur for the race at Kentucky.”
The changes include a new spoiler height of 3.5 inches (down from six inches) and a 25-inch wide splitter extension panel, or radiator pan (don from 38 inches). The splinter is also being shortened. The splitter overhang at Kentucky will be 1.75 inches shorter.
O’Donnell also said that the tires that will be used at Kentucky Speedway are expected to have more grip than the tires used at the track last year, but the tires weren’t chosen based on the new aero package.
Because of the changes, teams will have extra practice time added to the Kentucky race weekend.
“As we go into Kentucky, the teams will be afforded extended practice time on the racetrack, and that will occur opening up Wednesday, July 8, for them to tune their race cars,” O’Donnell said.
The package to be rolled out for Kentucky was originally discussed as an option for May’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but those plans were aborted and teams ran that exhibition even with the existing package. It was tested by Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team last week at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
The aero package announced for the upcoming Kentucky race is for the Kentucky race only, according to O’Donnell, at least for now.
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