NASCAR is cutting downforce once again

Encouraged by positive results so far this year, NASCAR will continue to experiment with reduced downforce aerodynamic packages at upcoming races at Michigan International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

NASCAR reduced downforce prior to the start of the season, and it has produced much improved racing in 2016.

The 2016 package cut downforce by 900 pounds, from 2,700 to 1,800 pounds and the sanctioning body is looking to shave another 500 pounds off with this latest rules tweak.

The teams gained back some of the downforce through ongoing development, so the goal now is getting downforce as low as 1,500 pounds, said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR’s vice president, innovation and racing development.

Some of the technical changes include cutting the rear spoiler dimensions from 3.5 inches high and 65 inches wide to 2.5 inches high by 53 inches wide. The width of the ends of the front splitter are also being cut from roughly 5 inches to 2 inches.

The new package will also feature a tapered decklid fin and no rear-end toe or skew.

NASCAR tried this package during a May 17 tire test at Michigan and was pleased with the results. It will be tested again there June 12 and at Kentucky June 13-14.

If the results of the tests and subsequent races prove successful, this could form the basis of the 2017 rules package but it was unlikely to be adopted for this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Last year, NASCAR followed a similar protocol, testing what became the current aero package at Kentucky and Darlington, but holding off on implementing it until 2016. Tom Jensen/Fox Sports

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