NASCAR will continue to test potential aerodynamic rules changes at Michigan International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway this summer.
The new package will continue to take downforce off Sprint Cup cars, as a new setup already has for this season. The low downforce package has generally been credited with more competitive and exciting racing.
The newest package, some of which was used during last week’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be in place at June’s Michigan race and Kentucky in July. The package was also tested at Michigan earlier this month.
Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s vice president of innovation and racing development, said Thursday it’s unlikely the new package would be put in place before the 2017 season.
Among the changes: less downforce and sideforce on the cars, a smaller spoiler (from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches), a reduced splitter (to 2 inches), resized deck fin to match the spoiler.
“My expectation is that they will go slower in the corners quite a bit,” said Stefanyshyn. “It will cast a smaller aerodynamic shadow, so we should be able to see cars getting around each other better, with more passing.”
Kyle Larson was at the Michigan test on May 17.
“As we took the rule changes and put them in the car I only got a couple of laps because it started raining, but I was already off throttle a lot more,” Larson said. “I think we were about 10 mph slower in the center of the corner. I expect the racing to be really good. Lifting the groove will move up some. It’s just going to, hopefully, be really exciting racing. I think you can see every race track we have been to this year has been much better racing. That was just a smaller step in downforce. Another step will just make it better, we hope.”
▪ The World of Outlaws Sprint cars series makes a stop at the Dirt Track at Charlotte on Friday night. Gates open at 4 p.m. for the Circle K/Nos Outlaw Showdown, with a drivers autograph session at 4:30 p.m. on the main concourse. Opening ceremonies are at 7:30 p.m. Donny Schatz won last year’s race at the dirt track, edging Kraig Kinser and David Gravel. Tickets: www.charlottemotorspeedway.com; 800-455-3267.
▪ Pre-production filming for the movie “Logan Lucky” begins this weekend during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR is collaborating with Steven Soderbergh, the film’s director. The film stars Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Seth MacFarlane.
▪ The speedway is recognizing long-time and first-time fans this weekend. On Saturday, 17 fans from six different states will be honored at the 50-Year Fan Breakfast Celebration at the Speedway Club.
▪ Fans attending a race at Charlotte for the first time can pick up a “First-Time Fan” information packet outside the main front stretch grandstand at Gate 4.