NASCAR Unveils New 2019 Cup Series Rules Package
Next season's aero package resembles that which was used in the 2018 Cup Series All-Star Race.
On Tuesday, NASCAR announced two aerodynamic packages for Cup Series races at tracks one mile or longer in 2019. Together, the packages will be used in 22 of the 36 points-paying races next year.
The base of both packages includes a taller rear spoiler, a larger front splitter with a two-inch overhang, and a wider radiator pan. The aim of the changes is to increase downforce and stabilize handling. For most races at tracks measuring at least one mile in length, the package will be combined with a tapered spacer, sized to limit engine output to 550 horsepower and front aero ducts. The package will be utilized for both contests at Pocono Raceway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway with the tapered spacer but without the aero ducts.
“It’s really been over a two-year process, working with the race teams, the OEMs, specifically the engine builders and probably the most collaborative effort we’ve had across all the industry stakeholders, including the drivers, to get to this package,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said during the announcement of the new package. “For us, it’s really a focus on getting back to a true focus on the drivers and what NASCAR is all about—close side-by-side racing and trying to deliver more of that.”
The tapered spacer will replace traditional restrictor plates, albeit similar to the phased-out equipment, for races at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. Otherwise, the same package will be utilized for the 2019 season-opening Daytona 500 as in the 2018 race.
NASCAR distributed specifics of the changes to race teams Monday.
The new aero package is similar to the setup NASCAR experimented with in its All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. After its success in that exhibition event, sanctioning body officials entertained the idea of implementing the package in a handful of races at large tracks in the second half of the 2018 season. Push back from the Race Team Alliance, a group of team owners, resulted in NASCAR scrapping the idea of using the package in points-paying races this year.
NASCAR also announced Tuesday that there will only be three organizational tests next year, down from four in 2018. Each organization is allowed to send one of its teams to each test. These are in addition to official tire tests conducted by Goodyear.
Additionally, NASCAR modified its engine rule for 2019. Three long-block engines will have to be used at least twice. The short-block sealed engine remains unchanged, however, as thirteen of them must be used in at least two races. NASCAR implemented its sealed engine rule, requiring the use of the same engine in multiple races, ahead of the 2018 season.