Proposed 2017 rules package to be used again at Michigan
NASCAR officials announced Thursday that the Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on August 28 will feature the proposed 2017 rules package used twice earlier this season.
The reduced rules package is intended to be put into place as the standard rules package next season. Various forms of the lower downforce package have been put into place this season, including points-paying races at Michigan and Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR also utilized a hybrid version of the 2016 and 2017 rules packages during the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The changes associated with the new rules package include a shorter rear spoiler, cut from 3.5 inches to just 2.5 inches and the removal of rear-axle skew. NASCAR also disallowed the use of cooling fans that were being used by teams to generate downforce and reduced the size of the front splitter. The alterations are part of NASCAR's goal to reduce sideforce and downforce in order to increase passing and side-by-side racing.
Following the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller left the door open
"Now, after tonight we'll go back and we'll sort of reconvene with the drivers and the owners and the OEMs and decide where we're going," Miller said. "We're open to a lot of different options, and if something like that bubbles up and we have industry support for it, nothing right now is out of the question."
Miller asserted that NASCAR would not change the rules package for any Chase races. That decision was confirmed Thursday by NASCAR's Gene Stefanyshyn, who said NASCAR will attempt to keep the Chase "clean" by not introducing anything new to competitors.
Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski said he wanted to see the 2017 package at least one more time with a few tweaks.
"My initial thought is I would like to see it back at Michigan with just a few subtle changes that can be ascertained from what we've learned over this weekend and the previous Michigan weekend," Keselowski said.
Stefanyshyn said after meeting with teams, manufacturers and owners, it was decided to keep the 2017 rules package in place without modification.
"There was some discussion about perhaps doing a bit of tweaking on the package between Michigan one and Michigan two," Stefanyshyn said during a Thursday morning teleconference. "Where we all landed on that, we thought it was best to proceed with the package we ran at Michigan one because the teams have some knowledge on that and a lot of the teams believe that they still have some fine-tuning they can do on that package."