NASCAR is changing the rules again.
The sanctioning body announced significant changes to the specifications for Cup Series cars in the 2019 season. Cup cars will have a higher rear spoiler, less horsepower and, at some tracks, aero ducts installed on the front of them in an attempt to make passing easier. The changes are a major shift from the focus in recent years of taking downforce away from cars in an attempt to increase passing in the corners as drivers were off the throttle longer.
The rules are based on the experiment the 2018 All-Star Race provided. The All-Star Race produced artificially close racing because the cars had choked-down engines and aero ducts installed to keep cars closer together. The 2019 rules won’t cut down on the engine horsepower as much but the aero ducts will be installed on the cars at all tracks larger than a mile with the exception of Atlanta, Darlington, Pocono and Homestead.
The horsepower changes, taller spoilers and changes to the front splitters are in effect at all 36 races. The spoilers are approximately five inches taller than they were a year ago.
“I think it’s probably looking at the bigger picture of where we want to go as a sport, and as we looked at the racing on track, certainly we’re pleased with what we have, but how do we continue to evolve with what’s out there,” NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said in a release. “We know we’ve got some of the brightest engineers in all of sports and what you see with the low-downforce package is a number of increased entry speeds at times, which makes it more difficult probably to produce a tire that has great wear that the drivers always ask for. It makes it more of an emphasis on engineering and wind tunnels versus what we’re all about, and that’s the drivers and hard side-by-side racing.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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