Report: NASCAR may introduce new Sprint Cup aero package at Kentucky

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According to a report by Motorsport.com, NASCAR conducted a teleconference with Sprint Cup teams earlier this week to discuss the possibility of a new aero package being introduced as soon as the July 11 race at Kentucky Speedway.

The report says the package would be aimed at low downforce and could include a 3.5-inch spoiler (down from six inches), and 25-inch radiator pan (down from 38 inches) and a shorter splitter.

The package, which was originally planned to be used in the Sprint All-Star Race in May, was reportedly used by Jimmie Johnson in the open test at Darlington Raceway earlier this week.

“NASCAR’s commitment includes putting the best racing on the track,” Motorsport.com was told by NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp. “All options remain viable at this time.”

Asked if he would be OK with a midseason rule change of this variety, Carl Edwards said Friday at Michigan: “Are you kidding me? I’d be in favor of anything that makes the cars able to race around each other and to put more of the speed into the drivers hands.

“I know NASCAR is all for the same thing. Everybody wants this thing to be the best possible show for the fans, and I don’t think NASCAR is scared to make changes. I think it’s really cool that they’ve been talking with the drivers more, they’ve been more involved with it and without knowing really the details, I think we’re heading in the right direction. I have a sense that there will be some neat things coming.”

Jeff Gordon said if changes are made, one element should not be forgotten – the tires.

“I’m fine with what I’m hearing about a reduction in downforce if they can bring a softer tire,” Gordon said Friday at Michigan. “That, to me, is the whole key.”

Martin Truex Jr. said it was his understanding that any rule change would be for Kentucky Speedway’s race only but he admits “I have as many questions as everybody else.”

There are two races and one off-week between this weekend’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the race at Kentucky, which will be broadcast by NBCSN. The Motorsport.com report says a test session would be held July 9 at Kentucky for teams to work on the package.

“Everyone has wanted more downforce and less drag because it would give the drivers more of that horsepower feeling back,” Joy Logano told Motorsport.com. “In theory, this is where we all wanted to go with it. So if it doesn’t work, we don’t have to talk about it any more. It’s obviously a big step to do this in the middle of the season.”

Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations at Joe Gibbs Racing, told Motorsport.com the short turnaround time should not be too severe for teams.

“Whatever they come up with, it will be a little bit of work,” Makar told Motorsport.com. “But I don’t think it will put anybody that far out. We’re kind of prepared to do those kind of things in a hurry if we have to.”