NASCAR announces safety additions, competition changes

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NASCAR issued a rules bulletin Friday to teams that included safety enhancements developed from the investigation of Ryan Newman‘s car after his Daytona 500 crash.

Newman suffered a brain bruise in a last-lap crash of the Feb. 16 event. He missed three races before the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic. He has been medically cleared by NASCAR to race.

NASCAR also announced competition adjustments Friday.

“As teams prepare for the return to racing, we want to provide as much advance notice as possible for upcoming technical changes,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development, in a statement. “Some of these updates stem from the investigation into the (Newman) incident at Daytona, and all are intended to produce a safe and competitive race at all venues. We look forward to providing more details in the near future.”

The safety enhancements include:

  • Elimination of aero ducts at superspeedway tracks.
  • Reduction in size of throttle body from 59/64” to 57/64” (superspeedways only).
  • Updated roll bar padding specifications (mandatory at all tracks beginning June 1).
  • Oil reservoir tank or overflow expansion tank must contain a check valve (mandatory at all tracks beginning with Talladega).
  • Slip tape must be applied along the entire length of the lower rearward facing surfaces of the rear bumper cover and extension (superspeedways only).
  • Addition of a lower main roll bar support bar #20 / intrusion plate and upper main roll bar support bar #21 (mandatory superspeedways, optional elsewhere).

Click here for image of new roll bars and plates (shown in yellow)

The competition changes include:

  • The temporary ban on most testing will be lifted Monday (May 4), however on-track testing will not be allowed in the Cup, Xfinity or Gander Truck Series for the remainder of the 2020 season.
  • Organizations are allocated a total of 150 hours in the wind tunnel through Dec. 31, 2021 with a maximum usage of 70 hours in 2020 and 90 hours in 2021. Wind tunnel testing of Next Gen vehicles by individual organizations is not permitted.
  • All remaining parts submission meetings for 2020 have been cancelled.
  • Minimum number of short block sealed engines changes from 13 to eight.

In regards to the testing issues, NASCAR banned all testing not related to the Next Gen car on March 17. That included but was not limited to wind tunnels (full and scale models), climatic tunnels, 7/8 posters, K&C rigs (static and dynamic) and driver simulators, etc.