NASCAR to debut new short track package at Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 06: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, Harrison Burton, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, and William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NASCAR’s much heralded new short track package will be debuted at Phoenix Raceway in just a few short weeks the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

The new package includes a 2-inch spoiler (down from the current 4-inch), the removal of three diffuser strakes and engine panel strakes, which officials said will lead to a 30% reduction in downforce. All the changes were tested during an organizational test at Phoenix in January.

The new package will be used at tracks where rain tires area allowed: the Charlotte Roval, Chicago Street Course, Circuit of the Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, Richmond, Sonoma, Watkins Glen and of course, Phoenix.

There was no word on the modified muffler that was also tested at Phoenix, apparently successfully.

To give all the teams some practice time to adjust to this new package, NASCAR has made Phoenix Raceway an ‘extended practice’ weekend. A 50-minute practice has been added, scheduled for Friday from 4:35 p.m. to 5:25 p.m. local time.

“We saw incredible racing throughout the 2022 season, especially at the intermediate racetracks,” John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer said. “Our goal is to have the best racing possible everywhere we race, so during the offseason, we went to work on adjustments to strengthen the racing on short tracks and road courses. Adjustments will be made to the car that will create a significant reduction in downforce, and based on driver feedback and what we saw from the January test in Phoenix, we’re excited to see the results of these efforts.”

The series will race at Phoenix Raceway March 12.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.