NASCAR officials seemed pleased by the debut of a new downforce rules package Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
The changes, which also were used at the Sprint All-Star Race, featured a shortened spoiler, a reduced splitter and the elimination of rear skew that generated sideforce. They were intended to enhance passing.
“Watching the race today from the tower, it was definitely different than we’ve seen here before, a lot of action on the restarts, a lot of movement there,” executive vice president of competition Scott Miller said. “Obviously we all watched it get strung out a little bit, which we weren’t hoping for longer into the runs. I think we saw a lot of things that we liked, some other things that may need a little bit of reevaluating, but I think overall for such a big move in downforce that it was a really pretty successful day and something that we can build on.”
NASCAR vice president of innovation Gene Stefanyshyn said the tires could be matched better for the new package, which will be used again July 9 at Kentucky Speedway.
“We’ll work with our Goodyear folks,” Stefanyshyn said. “Probably a bit handicapped by the entry speeds pretty high, so still that creates some aero effects, so that’s something we’ll look at.”
NASCAR will evaluate feedback from the industry on the new package.
“Again, we want to move cautiously,” Stefanyshyn said. “We’ve got a plan. We come back to Michigan (in August). We’ll see what the ’16 package looks like because we’ve kind of come here with a ’17 package. I think a good deliberate approach with Kentucky in there. Obviously we still want to talk to the drivers, what they felt, and get that input, how did the car feel to them, and also we need to look at our data, passing, etc., etc. So we’ve still got to get home and look at some of this information.”
Stefanyshyn said NASCAR likely would wait until after Kentucky to decide whether to use the new downforce package again.