NASCAR Cup: NASCAR unveils 2017 aero package
Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 16, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR will continue its mission of taking downforce away from Sprint Cup Series teams in 2017. The sanctioning body unveiled its 2017 aerodynamic rules package Friday during the Kansas Speedway race weekend in Kansas City, Kan. The regular rules package for next year will be similar to but slightly differerent from those tested under race conditions earlier this season at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
The 2017 package includes a 2 3/8-inch by 61-inch rear spoiler for non-restrictor-plate races, a slight tweak from the 2 1/2-inch by 53-inch spoiler used this year at Kentucky and Michigan. Meanwhile, the splitter for next season will be the same as the splitter on each race car at KS and MIS. That splitter is three inches smaller on each side than the regular 2016 splitter. the 2017 rules package also will include a tapered rear deck fin and a zero net rear steer setting.
The changes will result in a 20-lb. increase to car weight.
“We would hope that next year’s package can be a continuation and a little bit more of a long-term, stable rules package,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller told NASCAR.com
. “But nothing ever stays the same. Moving forward, we will look at more efficient ways to, potentially, test possible packages for the future.”
For the most part, the aero package for the restrictor-plate races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway will be the same as the package at the same tracks in 2016. The primary difference will be a change in plate size to 7/8-inch from 57/64-inch.
According to NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn, the goal with the changes is to put more of the racing back in the hands of the drivers.
Rules changes for 2017 also include safety innovations aimed at strengthening the interior driver compartment that will be mandatory for restrictor-plate races and optional at other tracks.
Those new rules will call for thicker anti-intrusion plating where it’s already in use and the addition of plating in new areas, Toeboard foam and a roof hatch. Steering column mounting will change next year, and a garage-only fuel coupler will be mandatory at all tracks.
Another rules change will decrease weekend tire allotment, and teams will be required to start races on the same tires used in qualifying.
“It’s not a huge reduction,” Stefanyshyn told NASCAR.com
. “It’s a comfortable reduction, but it’s kind of moving in that direction.”