After rumors swirled about the potential of rolling out a new rules package, NASCAR finally made it official on Tuesday afternoon. A new package with reduced downforce and tires with more grip will be introduced at Kentucky Speedway during the July 11 race.
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell announced the update package during a teleconference on Tuesday. The spoiler will be reduced by 3.5 inches with a smaller splitter and improved tire from Goodyear.
“This is not an abandonment of our current rules package,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve been vocal and will continue to be vocal about improvement. […] NASCAR is committed to putting the best racing on the track.”
— Chicken Bone Alley (@CBoneAlley) June 16, 2015
It’s a huge step in the right direction for NASCAR after fans have voiced their displeasure over the current rules package this season. Testing the new package during a race on an intermediate track also seems like a direct correlation to what fans want. With so many humdrum races at 1.5-mile courses this season, hopefully this will bring a boost in the on-track product.
O’Donnell made NASCAR’s intentions obvious by stating, “Let me be clear: This is not a test. This is a race.” He also noted that drivers and teams will have extra practice time on July 8 to compensate for further testing on the updated rules package.
Kasey Kahne, who has already tested the new aero setup, voiced his thoughts on the possibilities earlier this year.
“I really liked it,” Kahne said. “I ran by myself and felt like it was the first time I could really drive the car, control the car, lift and do things to make the car work.”
Large teams like Hendrick won’t be the only ones benefiting from the new package. O’Donnell said NASCAR has spoken to all teams prior to making the announcement. But with drivers like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart struggling to compete early on, it’s a huge move for both.
Ironically enough, Gordon has won at every track except for Kentucky, so this sets up perfectly for him in his final full-time season.
O’Donnell did say this new package would only be used for Kentucky and he’s unsure of any plans moving forward. But he noted that it could be used for a Chase race by stating, “Kentucky will go a long way in evaluating that.”
Tweaking the system midway through the season is a sticky situation. But with the current product on the track at cookie-cutter tracks, this move seemed like a necessity for NASCAR nearing the midway point of the season.
Follow Chicken Bone Alley on Twitter.