New aero package may be used in three Cup races this season
NASCAR confirmed on Saturday that it could use the aero package from last month’s All-Star Race in up to three Cup series points races before the end of the season.
In an interview with Fox Sports 1 at Pocono Raceway, Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, said the goal was to look “at one or two or possibly three events where we could really evaluate this for 2018 and see if this is the direction we want to pursue for 2019.”
The races which have been most commonly mentioned as a test are the second Pocono and Michigan races and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The package, which includes front air ducts, restrictor-plates, a larger rear spoiler and splitter that was used in the 2014 season, first debuted in last year’s Xfinity Series race at IMS to mostly rave reviews.
The package produced the most lead changes and different leaders in the history of the event at the track.
Last month, NASCAR adapted the use of the package in the 80-lap All-Star Race and it produced 38 green-flag passes for the lead, more than four previous years combined.
O’Donnell said the biggest challenge is “to ensure as best we can that what we put on the race track is going to be an improvement for the fans. That’s what we all want to do.
“Secondly, we need to make sure that when everyone rolls into the garage we have as level playing field as possible – that’s the OEMS, engine builders and race teams – and the team that puts the most into that still has the best chance to win.
“If we can do all those things, then that’s when we put it out on the track.”
The Xfinity Series is using the aero package this weekend at Pocono Raceway and will do so again next weekend at Michigan, as well as using it again at Indy.
O’Donnell said NASCAR will use information from these events as well to help make a final decision and formulate an exact schedule as to when and where the package will roll out again in the Cup series.
“For us, it’s making sure everybody has had enough time to look at it, had enough time to evaluate it,” he said. “If you look back at it, we really only ran it last year at Indy and the All-Star Race and this weekend is the first-time in Xfinity at Pocono.
“Taking all that data and evaluating if this is right direction to go is the first step.”
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