Thursday, July 28, 2016

NASCAR Announces Michigan Aero Package

NASCAR has unveiled its  aerodynamic package for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 28. 

NASCAR debuted a lower downforce (and less sideforce) aerodynamic package at the two-mile track for the FireKeepers Casino 400 earlier this season. It was met with rave reviews from the drivers, media and fans. Teams will return with the same package for the Pure Michigan 400 in August. 

“We have talked to our community, that includes the drivers, the teams, the owners, the OEMs and we all arrived at the decision that we thought it would be a good thing to go back to Michigan with the Michigan 1 package for several reasons,”said NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn. “One is that it will help us to manage corner speeds better. There was some discussion on tweaking the package, but where we all landed on that is we thought it was best to proceed with the package we ran at Michigan 1 because the teams have some knowledge on that. And a lot of the teams believe they still have some fine-tuning they can do on that package.” 

NASCAR has made updates to the 2016 aerodynamic package to further reduce downforce and sideforce. They include welded truck trailing arms, new brake cooling rules, a reduction of skew-generated sideforce by setting rear toe to zero degrees and aero package tweaks to reduce aero generated downforce and sideforce. In addition, rear spoilers will be shortened from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches and splitters reduced to two inches, with deck fins resized to match the spoilers. 

The FireKeepers Casino 400 featured 14 lead changes among eight drivers, with a  margin of victory of less than a second. Drivers and fans were entertained by the new package, especially on restarts. 

“You know, I think that thrill, the adrenaline that you get by controlling something that's out of control,” FireKeepers Casino 400 said winner Joey Logano after the race. “A lot of times being right on that edge of backing it in the fence which we saw happening in qualifying and you're just right on that edge. I remember after qualifying I was walking into the media center here and I was signing an autograph and my hand was shaking. I couldn't even write my name. That's cool. That's how on edge you have to be to go fast, and it was like that for 400 miles today, you know, that you're just right on that ragged edge, and that's awesome.” 

NASCAR also used this aerodynamic rules package at Kentucky Speedway on July 9. 

“We had an amazing race in June for the FireKeepers Casino 400 with the aerodynamic package that NASCAR implemented,” said MIS track president Roger Curtis. “I have loved what NASCAR has done with the lower downforce rules this year, it has made for some exciting and entertaining racing. I am excited to see the teams return for the Pure Michigan 400 with the same package they used in June. 

“I applaud NASCAR, teams, and drivers working together on increasing competition and continually improving the sport for our fans. These changes put even more back in the hands of the drivers. With our high speeds and wide track at MIS, the racing in August should be fantastic. I cannot wait for the Pure Michigan 400.”

1 comment:

  1. Watching the racing and viewing the history of the sport I'm always a little amazed when drivers oversell the competitiveness of the racing to justify a rule package whose feel to the cars they clearly like but which objectively has done nothing to improve passing. Watching the Michigan 400 in June it had a few spots of good racing but that was it; it was only marginally better, and that's a stretch to say that, than the Brickyard 400 that has had quite a few fans and some writers so discouraged as to be advocating cancelling Indianapolis from the NASCAR schedule. And these big tracks are supposed to be far more competitive than fourteen lead changes a race.

    Joey Logano can talk about how fun it was being on the edge, but his commentary leaves me unimpressed because in terms of ability to pass this combo simply hasn't delivered and the premise behind it has never made for better racing.