NASCAR makes rule changes for road courses, many tracks 1 mile or less
NASCAR announced Tuesday that it will make changes to the Cup car for road course events and a majority of races at tracks 1.058 mile and less.
The adjustments -- tested at Phoenix Raceway in late January and confirmed Feb. 13 in a wind tunnel test -- include a 2-inch spoiler (from the current 4-inch spoiler) and the removal of three diffuser strakes and engine panel strakes. The changes are expected to lead to a 30% reduction in downforce.
Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR vice president of vehicle performance, said Tuesday on “SiriusXM Speedway” that the diffuser strakes are pieces that hang from the center of the diffuser underneath the car. He said that NASCAR will remove three of the five diffuser strakes. Jacuzzi said the engine panel strakes are metal pieces that sweep outward behind the front tires and make front downforce.
The changes to the car were made after complaints about the difficulty Cup drivers had with passing at many short tracks and road courses last year.
The adjustments will be in place at: Charlotte Roval, Chicago Street Course, Circuit of the Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, Richmond, Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Those are all tracks that have the wet weather package (rain tires, wipers, etc.).
The rules will not be in place at Bristol or Dover, which is not included in the wet weather package. Had Bristol and Dover been added, it would have essentially created four different rule packages -- intermediate tracks, superspeedways, short tracks/road courses with wet weather equipment and short tracks/road courses without wet weather equipment.
With the rule change debuting at Phoenix, Cup teams will be given a 50-minute practice session on March 10, two days before the Cup race there.
John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer said of the rule changes: “We saw incredible racing throughout the 2022 season, especially at the intermediate racetracks. Our goal is to have the best racing possible everywhere we race, so during the offseason, we went to work on adjustments to strengthen the racing on short tracks and road courses.
“Adjustments will be made to the car that will create a significant reduction in downforce, and based on driver feedback and what we saw from the January test in Phoenix, we’re excited to see the results of these efforts.”