New NASCAR aero rules bring speed and need to be "mentally tough"

There appeared to be one distinctive difference with the testing of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series aero package Tuesday and perhaps the emergence of another.

New NASCAR aero rules bring speed and need to be "mentally tough"
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Unifirst
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Craftsman
Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Craftsman
Daniel Hemric, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro South Point Hotel & Casino
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Autoguard
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Smithfield

In sharp contrast to the aero rules employed during the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, drivers noticed higher speeds during Tuesday’s Goodyear Tire test at the track.

Tuesday morning’s session was spent predominantly in single-car runs, but participants still seemed to be able to notice the roughly 150 horsepower increase from the package used in May.

“From watching the All-Star Race as a fan, I thought (the cars) looked slow and I expected to feel that (today) being in it for the first time on the Cup side,” said Daniel Hemric, who will drive the No. 31 in the Cup series next season for Richard Childress Racing.

“I thought I’d go ride easy wide-open but as I went to run wide-open into (Turn) 1, as you dropped on in, you knew you were still running 180 mph. The speed sensation is there with this package.

“I think they are doing good job of the horsepower and the downforce and balancing that out. I think from what my spotter said from up top, he said the cars actually look up to speed and look fast.”

Driver Erik Jones agreed.

“I think the All-Star package was really similar to what was used in the Xfinity car. This package is a little bit faster, maybe not a lot, but they added power,” he said.

“We were pretty easy wide-open all day (by yourself) but I think once we get in a pack here, I don’t think we’ll be anywhere close to wide open once we get rolling. There are things you can do to gain easy speed by yourself, how that will drive in a pack we don’t know yet.”

The new rules package used at Charlotte will include the use of a tapered spacer, larger front splitter, wider radiator pan and front aero ducts. The taper spacer takes the place of a restrictor-plate used in the All-Star Race.

Hemric said a better indication of the new rules’ potential should come later Tuesday when the four drivers participating in the test (William Byron and Aric Almirola were the others) planned to run together in a drafting session.

Hemric said he was looking to see how the speeds changed from the package Xfinity Series drivers used in three races this season to the planned Cup package.

“So far, it’s really close from what I can tell,” he said.

His experience from using a similar package in the Xfinity Series the last two years, leads Hemric to believe the new package may force drivers into more of a “mental game” on the track.

“As far as picking and choosing your lanes on restart, and being mentally tough not to pull out of line because you think you have a run, you may need to be more mentally tough to stay in line and do the right thing by pushing (cars in front) and keeping the momentum rolling,” he said.

“Even with the package today in single car runs, as soon as you slow down, the car just stops, so that’s what you’re going to feel when you pull out of the draft and make a move.”

Hemric said as a driver he normally gets “antsy” about wanting to pull out and make a move if he feels he has a run.

“When you do that, you can get hung out if you didn’t have the mental discipline to stay in line and instead of gaining, you could lose five, six or however many were lined up behind the guy you were trying to pass,” he said.

“You need to be mentally tough to not put yourself into that situation everywhere we go.”

From the editor, also read:

shares
comments
Roush Fenway taps Scott Graves as crew chief for Newman in 2019

Previous article

Roush Fenway taps Scott Graves as crew chief for Newman in 2019

Next article

Kurt Busch to make NASCAR TV broadcasting debut at Martinsville

Kurt Busch to make NASCAR TV broadcasting debut at Martinsville
Load comments
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020