NASCAR is exploring potentially using the rules package from last month’s All-Star Race in up to three Cup points races this season, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said in an interview with Fox Sports 1.
O’Donnell was asked about NASCAR’s discussions regarding the package Saturday at Pocono Raceway.
O’Donnell said NASCAR is looking at using the package “at one or two or possibly three events” to help “see if this is the direction we want to pursue for 2019.”
The package includes a restrictor plate, air ducts, a taller spoiler and the 2014 style splitter.
A similar package debuted in the Xfinity Series last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Xfinity is using it again this weekend at Pocono and next week at Michigan International Speedway. All three tracks could be sites for the Cup Series to use the package again this season.
Cup will make its second visit to Pocono on July 29, Michigan on Aug. 12 and Indy hosts the regular season finale on Sept. 9.
“For us, it’s making sure everybody has had enough time to look at it, had enough time to evaluate it,” O’Donnell said. “If you look back at it, we really only ran it last year at Indy and the All-Star Race and this weekend is the first-time in Xfinity at Pocono.
“Taking all that data and evaluating if this is right direction to go is the first step.”
After making sure the product put on the track with the package is an “improvement for fans,” O’Donnell said the next challenge for NASCAR is ensuring “that when everyone rolls into the garage they feel we are on as level a playing field as possible – that’s the OEMS (manufacturers), engine builders and race teams – and the team that puts the most into that still has the best chance to win.
“If we can do all those things, then that’s when we put it out on the track.”
Two Hall of Fame owners, Richard Childress and Roger Penske, have already voiced their support for using the package.
“Anything that is good for our sport right now, which I think it would be, I’m for it,” Richard Childress said. “I’m putting RCR aside and looking at the sport itself. If everybody in this garage will do that … put the sport first and we all go out and put the best show for the fans in the stands, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Roger Penske said: “Directionally, I think it’s the right thing to do. What I like about it is we’re trying something.”
On Friday, multiple Cup drivers said adjustments should be made to make the package harder to drive.