By AMANDA VINCENT
The lower downforce rules package for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway is only the first of several track-specific rules packages to be rolled out throughout the remainder of the 2015 regular season, prior to the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
A package aimed at higher drag will be utilized for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26 and at Michigan International Speedway on August 16. That package will include nine-inch spoilers with one-inch wicker bills, rear fascia extension panels similar to those used on superspeedways, two-inch leading edges on splitters, and 43-inch splitter extension panels.
“When you look at a lot of the data, and obviously you see it play out on the racetrack, but the belief is that the second-place car, if they’re lined up maybe two, three, four, five, could have a five-mile-an-hour difference between the leader. As an example, if you came out of Turn 2 and you had a four-car-length lead, it’s the belief that second and third, if they hooked up, could head into Turn 3 up on the bumper of the leader and potentially have kind of that — more that slingshot that you used to see and the ability to pass,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said of the desired effect of the new package at Indianapolis. “A lot of that we’ve got to see in the real world once we’re out there at Indy, but that’s the effect we believe it’ll have.”
Teams will race with a package similar to that used at Kentucky this weekend when they head to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the Southern 500 on Sept. 6, but with a few tweaks. Cars will carry 3.5 five inch spoilers instead of the three-inch spoilers used at Kentucky, and splitters will feature a 0.25-inch leading edge. Darlington splitter extension panels will be the same size as at Kentucky — 25 inches.
While NASCAR experiments with aero-packages with the goal of improving its product, Goodyear has a change in store for competitors when they get to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for the race there September 12. Recently, the tire manufacturer has brought multi-zone tread tires to RIR but won’t for the upcoming race there.
“We’ve been really candid, I believe, with our intentions of looking at our racing development and identifying possible venues where we can field a specific rules package for each track that we feel will enhance the racing, and earlier today we informed our competitors that we’ve updated the rules packages for four of those upcoming races, specifically Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and also Richmond International Raceway, and the decision by NASCAR to add those four races to the already planned rules update for Kentucky this week is really coming on the heels of the continued dialogue that we’ve had with the industry that’s been terrific,” O’Donnell said.
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