With nearly a third of the season’s races complete, NASCAR has changed the rules for its championship race.
The sanctioning body revealed Wednesday in a rulebook update that air ducts would be used at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17. The Homestead race is the final race of the 2019 season and is where the final four remaining playoff drivers square off for the title.
NASCAR added downforce and cut horsepower on Cup Series cars for the 2019 season. It also added air ducts — to increase air displacement around cars with the goal of adding an enhanced drafting effect — to cars at most 1.5 and 2-mile tracks ahead of the season. Homestead, like Atlanta Motor Speedway, was not originally one of those tracks because of its worn pavement and multiple racing grooves.
Now it is, along with Pocono and Darlington. The February Atlanta race will now be the only race on an intermediate track that doesn’t have air ducts.
The ducts will significantly change the way that drivers race at Homestead. The progressively-banked track has been a fantastic spot for NASCAR’s title race because of the tire wear its pavement provides and the ability for drivers to run multiple lines through each end of the track.
With air ducts on the cars, drivers won’t be having to get off the gas nearly as much in the corners because their top-end speed will be considerably slower. It won’t be a stretch to think that drivers will be able to run flat-out around the entire track on fresh tires. That was impossible in 2018.
2019 is also the final title race at Homestead. NASCAR announced earlier in the season that Homestead’s race would move to March and the title race would be held at Phoenix in 2020.
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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