Chief among NASCAR’s rule changes for 2019 is a new aerodynamics package that will reduce horsepower and slow down the cars in the majority of races on the Monster Energy Cup Series schedule. With a less-is-more mentality, the idea is to create better chances for passing and drafting at oval tracks longer than 1.2 miles.
Or, simply put: NASCAR hopes the days of leaders driving away from the competition are over.
With a taller spoiler, a longer front splitter, a wider radiator pan and, at certain tracks, air ducts and/or a smaller tapered spacer, NASCAR wants to increase drag and downforce while decreasing horsepower in its Cup cars. This comes after NASCAR had spent several years trying to decrease downforce, making the cars tougher to handle.
MORE: NASCAR’s 2019 rule changes explained
“Where we looked to make a little bit of a change was around the horsepower and that was, after discussions with the drivers, discussions with the engine builders as well, as what would be something that would produce a little more on-throttle time and have a good relationship with the aero package that we put together,” NASCAR chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said in October, when the changes were announced. “So we made a tweak to that.
“We think that’ll put it more in the drivers’ hands, especially as we go to some of the intermediate tracks.”
Eighteen races on the Cup Series schedule will feature both the aero ducts and the smaller tapered spacer (from 1.17 inches in diameter to 0.922 inches in diameter), which are designed to restrict more air flow and decrease horsepower from a target of 750 to a target of 550. The air ducts will increase drag and downforce.
Among those races, though, events at Atlanta, Pocono, Darlington and Homestead will feature the smaller tapered spacer, but not the air ducts.
Confused? Here is a schedule that breaks down what races feature the lowered horsepower package with the smaller tapered spacer but not the aero ducts, plus the races that feature both, and the races that feature neither.
(The 2019 Daytona 500 is excluded, as it ran under last year’s rules package.)
NASCAR new rules package: 2019 schedule for aero package at each Cup race
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