NASCAR will use Saturday night’s All-Star Race as a test session. The sanctioning body announced Monday several changes to the aero package for the Sprint Cup series cars to try and further enhance its new low downforce package. The intent is to reduce even more downforce, as well as side force and, NASCAR hopes, will produce more passing.
NASCAR introduced a new low downforce package for 2016. Most agree the new package has been overwhelmingly successful giving drivers more control than in years past. However there have been several instances where cars racing side by side have gotten loose. Near the end of the Kansas race Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson drove into turn 3; Keselowski got loose on the bottom; Hamlin in the middle then got loose spinning up into Larson. Keselowski and Hamlin never touched each other leading to speculation that the new aero package could have been at fault.
Monday’s changes are meant in part to address the side force. Saturday night’s All-Star Race is a non-points event so while winning does pay a $1 million, there are no championship implications. Cars racing in both the Sprint Showdown (last-chance qualifier) and the All-Star Race will be used to test the alterations. The changes involve the truck trailing arm and crossmember assembly, electric fans used for cooling purposes for the brakes on the cars and rear wheel toe alignment.