NASCAR considering two rules packages in 2016 with low downforce as primary

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NASCAR likely will have two variations of rules for the Sprint Cup Series next season with the highly acclaimed low-downforce package used most often.

Executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel that different rules might be used at larger speedways.

“There are still a couple of outliers we’re looking at,” O’Donnell told Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody. “We’ll spend the next two weeks sitting down with everybody. The low downforce matched with the tires has a lot of momentum, and we’ve seen really good things, and I think you’ll see it at a number of races next year. There are outliers at some of the bigger tracks, (such as) Michigan, California.

“As closely as we can stick to two packages, maybe a low downforce and something different, that’s what we’d like to do. The majority of the races we feel are headed in the low-downforce direction. We just want to have additional discussions with some of the race teams, get their feedback and finalize it by the end of (September).”

After a successful debut at Kentucky Speedway two months ago, the low downforce drew virtually universal acclaim from drivers in Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlingon Raceway. Green flag lead changes (24) were up 60 percent from last year’s race on the 1.366-mile oval.

Winner Carl Edwards lobbied NASCAR to use low dowforce again during the Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR announced in mid-August that it would stick with the 2015 rules for the final 11 races of the season, and O’Donnell reiterated that stance Tuesday.

“Unfrotuantely, there’s not” a chance of using low downforce again in ‘15, O’Donnell said. “I love Carl’s passion. He’s a big fan of this package. Prior to Darlington, we met as an industry and talked about what was the most fair package to put together and what did we think would produce good racing in the Chase. Ultimately, we wanted to stick with 2015.

“We felt teams put a ton of time into testing those cars. Goodyear’s tires had matched up that package for the final 10 races. We all felt that was the best way to go. We can take the proper time to evaluate all the things we’ve looked at for ’16 and really dial that in for the ’16 package, knowing that a lot of things have been done for ’15, and teams have really prepared for the Chase already.”