A new feeling: AJ Allmendinger on how NASCAR’s rules package impacts racing

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After the first race with NASCAR’s new aero package, AJ Allmendinger had an interesting take on the new rules and what it was like in the seat.

“I definitely like the less downforce,” Allmendinger said in a team release. “It looked like on restarts in front of me and in the car, you definitely had to work. When the tires went off, you had to work the race car. I remember driving home Sunday night thinking, ‘Gosh my chest is sore, my arms are sore.’ It was a workout for 500 miles around Atlanta. It was a lot of fun for that reason.

Last weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway marked the debut of rules intended to reduce downforce about 24 percent and cut 125 horsepower. Teams get another chance to see how the package works this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger, who finished seventh to winner Jimmie Johnson at Atlanta, said the changes definitely made an impact during the race.

“The less horsepower, I’m not sure yet, honestly,” Allmendinger said. “It’s definitely a different driving style. I have to learn it. I have never liked taking away horsepower, but there are some (benefits) for the racing. When I went back and watched the race, if you got checked up, guys would have huge runs and it made passing a little easier at times. But it made it a little tougher at times because if you had to check up behind somebody when you had a run on them, it would just kill your momentum.

“The leader would still get out there a little bit and kind of drive away. Honestly, any package we have, that’s the way aerodynamics work. It’s a little too soon to say that I like this better than last year. I definitely have got to learn it. The less downforce is going to make for good racing over the course of the year. and I’m excited about that.”