NASCAR announced that the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rules package will include aero ducts and tapered spacers, similar to that run at this year’s All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Breaking down the package at the NASCAR R&D Center in a presentation aimed at explaining the direction the sport is looking toward, NASCAR officials said the goal is to tighten the field at its larger racetracks.
“Our core goal in everything we do is delivering the best possible racing for our fans, and everything we do that’s what we’re focused on,” said Steve O’Donnell, chief racing development officer. “Got to be committed to innovation, and we’ve also got to be committed to improving what we’re doing.”
The package(s) includes the following elements:
• Spoiler: 8” x 61”
• Splitter with a 2” overhang in the front, 10.5” wings on the ends (near the tires)
• Radiator pan: 37: in front tapered to 31” with vertical fences
• Aero ducts: To be used at a majority of the oval tracks larger than 1-mile
• 750hp: 1.17” tapered spacer to be used at short tracks and road courses
• 550hp: 0.922” tapered spacer to be used at oval tracks larger than 1-mile
• Addition of three long block engine seals in points races. These are in addition to the 13 short block seals introduced going into the 2018 season.
Testing will also see a 25 percent reduction with three organization tests (down from four) and three teams at each Goodyear test (also down from four).
“If you look at what we’re trying to get it’s really a more balanced equation between technical aspects of the sport and the athletes, and that’s kind of the fight we always have each and every year,” O’Donnell continued. “Simply put, it’s racing less in the wind tunnel and more on the track, and we think we’re out of balance in where we are today as far as racing.
“This is really all about a rules package we believe will continue to deliver better racing but also set us up for a healthier environment from a team owner’s standpoint, focus on the drivers, hopefully, enhance the relationship we have with our current OEMs and the potential for new OEMs to take a harder look at NASCAR.”
Teams were given the new rules shortly before 7 p.m. ET Monday night after receiving the initial version of the rules in late July. The package will be on track Wednesday during a Goodyear tire test at Phoenix, marking the first time drivers will get experience with it.
The 550 horsepower limit is higher than what teams had at this year’s All-Star Race, when it was 400hp. Officials felt what they saw during that event demonstrated the need for the increase.
“This package is, take the best of the short tracks, the best of the superspeedways and somehow meet in-between,” said O’Donnell. “Do we want more cars on the lead lap? Absolutely. Do we want tighter racing? Absolutely. Do we expect three-wide every lap? No. The best drivers and the best teams are still going to win the race.”
Restrictor plates will be continue to be used in the 2019 Daytona 500 but done away with afterward in favor of the tapered spacers on superspeedways, starting at Talladega on April 28.
“There was a lot of engine inventory already out there. Teams had already begun preparing for the 500, so we wanted to hold the line there for 2019,” explained O’Donnell. “And then, as we start the season again from a superspeedway standpoint at Talladega, going to that 550 (horsepower) tapered spacer, we think will produce exactly what we’ve seen in the past — the side-by-side racing that fans love. So certainly we’ll learn some things along the way, but believe you’ll see very similar styles of racing at those tracks.”