NASCAR’s O’Donnell: Track-specific aero packages on horizon, perhaps as early as this season

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NASCAR is considering having different aero packages for various types of racetracks that host Sprint Cup events in 2016 – and might even implement those changes as early as later this season – according to a report.

Downforce Radio in the United Kingdom interviewed NASCAR vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell last week at Speedfest in England.

In the interview, O’Donnell said one of the options NASCAR is looking at is having aero packages designed for particular types of racetracks, with different rules for short tracks, mid-range tracks, larger tracks like this weekend’s venue in Michigan to superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega.

”I think you’ll look at a little bit more of a set race package,” O’Donnell said. “So instead of looking at a 2016 package, you’ll look at it more in terms of putting some packages around certain tracks – not to have it be 36 individual packages, but potentially look at some lower downforce at some (tracks), look at superspeedway packages, kind of cater it to certain tracks.”

O’Donnell went on to say that NASCAR may be on a fast track to implement changes. Instead of waiting until next year, the sport could see those changes take place later this season.

”You’re going to see us probably make some moves as early as this year, so some exciting things are going on as we head into the second half of the series,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell’s comments seem a significant departure from what many thought would be a uniform aero package that would be in place next year. Many were hoping it would be similar to the one currently in place this season.

However, this isn’t an entirely radical change. NASCAR already has separate aero packages for the restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega vs. all other tracks. The Verizon IndyCar Series also has adopted different aero packages for ovals, road courses and street circuits such as this weekend’s race in Toronto.

”You’ve got a lot of stakeholders to balance,” O’Donnell said. “First and foremost the fans, the owners, the tracks, the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), but ultimately we’ve got to make a decision and stand by that.

“We try and get as much input as we can, but we’ve got to make a call that we believe is going to grow the sport in its entirety, and that’s our job – not always easy, but we try and make the right decisions to let us all grow in the future.”

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