|NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell|
Major changes are once again on the NASCAR horizon, and sooner than most would have believed.
In comments to the Des Moines Register today, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body will announce significant changes to engines, downforce, aerodynamics and tires, prior to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17.
NASCAR has gathered input from drivers, teams, engine builders and manufacturers in recent weeks in an effort to trim 25-100 horsepower from Sprint Cup Series engines in time for the 2015 season. O'Donnell said the sanctioning body met with teams at its Concord, N.C., Research & Development facility this week to update them on the progress of proposed changes to “the whole package.”
Speaking at an Iowa Speedway sponsor summit, O’Donnell said those proposed changes are focused on one goal; bolstering on-track competition. He called racing on NASCAR’s 1.5-mile speedways "better" in 2014, but added, "We've still got work to do. Brian (France) has talked about more and more lead changes (and) that's the end goal.
"If you combine the aero package with that (reduced) horsepower (and) allow some aero changes… going into the corner, drivers have to get off the gas,” O’Donnell said. “Combine that with Goodyear and a little softer tire, now you're able to move around a little bit more."
O’Donnell said Goodyear will play a major role in the 2015 changes, building tires that are softer than those currently being used.
"If you watched last year … 50 laps into a run, 10 laps to go, nobody (pitted) for tires," said O'Donnell. "And if one guy did, it didn't matter. You think, 'Wait a minute, that's not right.' So tires are a big part of this as well, in getting (the package) right."