Changes to NASCAR rulebook: Driver biometrics, roof hatch and rear spoiler height

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NASCAR has issued updates to its rulebooks for all three national series.

A noteworthy update for all three series involves allowing drivers to wear biometric devices in the cockpit

For the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series there are changes in restrictor-plate hole size, roof hatch requirements and toe board energy material requirements.

The only change exclusive to the Cup Series is rear spoiler height.

MORE: NASCAR reduces tire allotment at 13 of 36 Cup races

Driver Biometrics (Cup, Xfinity, Trucks)

Driver biometric devices are now permitted to be worn in the vehicle provided they do not have telematics capability and operate on their own internal battery power.

The devices can’t connect to any vehicle electrical system (e.g. vehicle battery, ECU, digital dash display, etc.). Data generated by the device can only be stored within the device itself. External data loggers are also not permitted.

The data stored on the driver biometric device will not be permitted to be downloaded during qualifying or a race.

It is the team’s responsibility to make sure the biometric device is suitable for use in the driver’s cockpit.

In order for a device to be eligible for use, it must either be listed on NASCAR’s approved driver biometric device list or be similar in functionality to the devices listed.

NASCAR may allow additional biometric devices to be used in special circumstances if required by the driver’s doctor. If the need arises, the driver and team must notify the senior vice president of competition in advance of a race and provide the specifications and any special requirements of the biometric device.

Rear-spoiler height (Cup)

In 2016, the Cup series ran a rough draft of the 2017 aero package at both Michigan races and at Kentucky Speedway. That package featured a rear spoiler that was 2.5-inches tall, down from 3.5 inches. In 2017, the spoiler will be 2.35 inches tall.

Roof hatch (Cup, Xfinity)

An emergency roof hatch for driver exit is now mandatory at all superspeedway events, after being optional last season. The roof hatch remains optional at all non-superspeedway tracks.

Restrictor-plate hole size (Cup, Xfinity)

The size of the holes in restrictor plates used at Daytona and Talladega will now be 7/8ths of an inch, a change from 57/64ths of an inch.

Toe board energy absorbing material (Cup, Xfinity)

NASCAR now requires teams to use toe board energy absorbing material at superspeedway races in order to strengthen the driver foot box. The measure, an answer to Kyle Busch‘s leg injuries in the 2015 Xfinity Series opener at Daytona, was previously optional.

The absorbing material adds approximately 20 pounds to the car’s weight.  NASCAR has raised the minimum weight of cars the same amount in order to encourage teams to use the material at non-superspeedway tracks.

Kyle Busch wins Stage 2 of Brickyard 400; Dale Earnhardt Jr. out after accident on restart

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Kyle Busch continued his domination of the Brickyard 400 by winning Stage 2 of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Busch, who has led 85 of the race’s 160 laps, led the final 13 laps of the stage. Busch also won Stage 1.

Busch restarted ninth on Lap 75 after eight cars stayed out of the pits during the preceding caution. He passed Ryan Blaney to return to the lead on Lap 87.

The top 10 after 100 laps were Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Blaney, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Jamie McMurray.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s final Brickyard 400 ended early when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne on the Lap 75 restart. The collision smashed in the front of his No. 88 Chevrolet and damaged the radiator, which began trailing smoke and brought the caution back out. Earnhardt went to the garage with his sixth DNF through the first 20 races of the year.

“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.

“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around. It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”

The race’s second caution for an accident occurred on Lap 57 when David Ragan spun in Turn 1 and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt and JJ Yeley. Earnhardt and Yeley were able to continue, but the severe damage to Ragan’s No. 38 Ford ended his day.

Yeley’s day ended when he brought out another caution on Lap 70 when his No. 7 Chevrolet lost his right-front tire and hit the outside wall.

The Brickyard 400 is scheduled to end on Lap 160.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last Brickyard 400 ends early after making contact

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s hopes of finally winning a Brickyard 400 in his final career appearance in the mid-summer classic ended abruptly on Lap 77 of Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt made contact with the rear of the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne, causing significant damage to the front end and radiator of Earnhardt’s No. 88.

Shortly after that, smoke began to billow from the rear of Earnhardt’s car. He didn’t take the car to pit road, going straight to the garage instead, his day officially over.

“There were just a bunch of cars slowing down and stopping and caused a chain reaction,” Earnhardt told NBC. “I got into the back of the 6 car (Trevor Bayne), they were all getting into each other, and just knocked the radiator out of it.

“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure. It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.”

Earnhardt now has just six races to qualify for the NASCAR playoffs. He’s pretty much in a must-win situation if he hopes to make the 10-race playoffs.

“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around,” Earnhardt said. “It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”

Earnhardt is the second Hendrick Motorsports driver to see his day come to an early end. Chase Elliott suffered engine failure on Lap 45.

 

Engine issue ends Chase Elliott’s Brickyard 400 hopes early

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Chase Elliott‘s hope of winning the Brickyard 400 went up in smoke about one-quarter of the way through Sunday’s 24th edition of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Elliott had some issues with his engine that brought him to pit road. After his team looked over the car, it sent him back out on the racetrack and shortly after, smoke began coming out of the rear of his Chevrolet on Lap 44. Elliott took his car to the garage, his day officially over.

“We don’t know, it was some type of motor issue,” Elliott told NBC of the apparent cause of the engine failure. “We went down a cylinder and then started blowing smoke out of the pipes. I’ve been racing Hendrick engines since 2013 and this is the first engine problem I’ve ever had. … We’ll move on to next week and see what we have there.”

Elliott came into the race hoping to repeat what his father did in the latter’s win in the 2002 Brickyard 400.

 

Kyle Busch leads Brickyard 400 at end of Stage 1; Chase Elliott out due to engine problems

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Pole-sitter Kyle Busch led all 50 laps to win the first stage of the Brickyard 400.

Busch is seeking to win his first Cup race in his last 36 starts since capturing last year’s Brickyard 400.

The top 10 after 50 laps were Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Denny Hamlin finished the stage in 24th after he pitted twice under the competition caution to fix damage from contact with Ryan Newman on his first trip down pit road.

Chase Elliott is out of the race after his No. 24 Chevrolet blew an engine on Lap 45. Elliott had begun dropping off the pace around Lap 20 and he was a lap down after an extended stop during the competition caution.

It is the first time Elliott has lost an engine in his Cup career.

The first caution of the race occurred on Lap 9 when Corey LaJoie hit the wall in Turn 3. During the caution the field was brought to pit road on Lap 12 ahead of severe weather.

The race was red flagged for lightning before it began raining. The red flag lasted one hour, 47 minutes and three seconds and was lifted at 4:47 p.m.

The race went back to green on Lap 18.

The competition caution originally scheduled for Lap 20 was pushed back to Lap 30.

Stage 2 will end on Lap 100 with the race scheduled to go 160 laps.