Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Opinions Mixed On Impact Of 2015 Rule Changes

"The racing will be identical..."
NASCAR conducted a preseason Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, providing teams with an opportunity to shake-down the new, 2015 rules package for the first time.  

The four drivers that participated in the test – Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, Carl Edwards and his new No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Paul Menard in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 27 Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt, Jr, driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – offered their thoughts on this week’s preseason test runs, as did their crew chiefs.

"Typically, when we come to a test, we have a list of all the things we want to try,” said Earnhardt. “We're not doing that traditional type of testing this week, because we have a lot of things to go through for Goodyear's agenda. It's still good to come to the track early and not show up to Atlanta (for first non-restrictor plate race of 2015) so raw.

"We all need to be prepared to work together mentally,” said NASCAR’s perennial Most Popular Driver.  “We have a lot of new people on the crew and this gives everybody a chance to work together."

Earnhardt said he does not anticipate major differences as a result of in this year’s technological changes. 

“I think the racing will be identical,” he said. “The 2015 package feels a lot like last year's.  The corner speeds feel similar, so the racing should be similar. I like that because we had a good year in '14."

Hornish’s crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, disagreed, saying, "I think the change in rear downforce compared to front downforce has made this a freer race car.  This downforce package makes this car more similar to a Xfinity Series car.  The corner speeds seem to be up a bit, but the straightaway speeds are down, with the reduced horsepower.

"This test is extremely valuable for us, especially since we're working with a new driver,” said Blickensderfer. “We've been testing the 2015 rules package, and this sets us up for the first part of the season and helps us set up our simulation software.  This is huge for us."

Edwards said this week’s test was an important first step in his transition to Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.

"This is what we need to be working on, and I applaud NASCAR for doing it,” he said. “This is more like what the car felt like 10 years ago, and I like that.  When you take the downforce out, you have to lift off the throttle and slide the car through the corner. It produces turn when you have to lift off the throttle, and that's where racing happens."


  1. Anonymous3:00 PM

    Yes remove downforce & make the driver know Drive ...Earner

  2. Anonymous3:43 PM

    Less rear downforce wont be good for some. [ jeff gordon]...

    1. You're right on the money. He just can't drive a loose car and at age 43 I doubt he'll change. The 2015 car may speed up his decision to retire sooner than later.