NASCAR Cup: safety at superspeedways, tire allotment headline rule changes
The geen flag waves on the 2016 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 21, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR recently distributed technical bulletins to its race teams in its three national series — Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping Word Truck — outlining changes to the rulebooks for the upcoming 2017 race season.
The one change that applies to all three series is the allowance of driver biometrics. Drivers may wear biometric devices during races, but the devices can’t connect to the vehicle’s electrical system. The data collected by the device can’t be downloaded during qualifying sessions or races. Devices used must be listed on NASCAR’s approved list or function similarly to devices on the list. NASCAR may allow additional biometric devices when required by a doctor.
Several other rule changes affect both the Cup and Xfinity series. Those changes pertain to roof hatches, restrictor plates and driver foot boxes.
Roof hatches, formerly optional at all race tracks, are now mandatory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. They remain optional at all other tracks.
Another change in the name of safety is the mandatory use of toe board energy-absorbing material to strengthen foot boxes for superspeedway races (Daytona and Talladega). Previously, the material was optional. The use of the material adds about 20 pounds to cars’ total weight. As a result, NASCAR has increased the minimum weight requirement with the aim of encouraging teams to strengthen their cars’ foot box at all tracks.
The size of the holes in restrictor plates used in both the Xfinity and Cup series for races at Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway have changed. Last year’s plates had 57/64-inch, but the 2017 restrictor plate has 7/8-inch holes.
A rear-spoiler height rule change applies only to Cup Series cars and mandates a 2.35-inch spoiler. That’s a slight change from the aerodynamic package tested at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last year. The spoiler that was part of the tested package was 2.5 inches tall. The regular spoiler from 2016 measured 3.5 inches.
Another rule change for Cup changes the number of sets of tires teams are allowed to use in races. In 13 of the 36-playing points races in 2017, including five of the 10 Chase races, the number of sets of tires allowed will be decreased. Meanwhile, teams will be allowed additional sets of tires in eight races.