MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – NASCAR announced a new era of “closer competition” Tuesday.
Two new rules packages will be used during the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit, with a combination of a smaller tapered spacer to reduce engine horsepower to 550 from 750 and aero ducts to create closer racing on a majority of speedways measuring longer than one mile, according to a release from NASCAR. Both those features will be in place for 17 of the 36 races, including the summer Daytona race and spring and fall Talladega races.
The traditional restrictor plate package will be used for the 2019 Daytona 500.
Five races will be run with the smaller spacer but without aero ducts, including the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February.
“Fans who love intense, close racing action have a real treat in store at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500,” Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said. “With 40 of the nation’s best drivers competing with this new rules package, we should see an unprecedented level of racing drama at Atlanta Motor Speedway.”
The smaller tapered spacer/no aero ducts package will also be used at both Pocono events, Darlington and Homestead.
Neither the smaller spacer nor aero ducts will be used at short tracks and road courses.
The baseline aero elements of the 2019 rules package are a taller 8-inch by 61-inch rear spoiler, a larger front splitter with a 2-inch overhang, and a wider radiator pan that measures 37 inches wide in the front tapering to 31 inches at the rear, according to the NASCAR release. Those base changes will be in place at every race next season with the intent of adding downforce to stabilize handling, a break from a trend of downforce reduction from 2015-18.
The new specs are inspired by an experimental package used during NASCAR’s 2018 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which featured three-wide action throughout the field.
“It’s really been over a two-year process, working with the race teams, the OEMs, specifically the engine builders and probably the most collaborative effort we’ve had across all the industry stakeholders, including the drivers, to get to this package,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “For us, it’s really a focus on getting back to a true focus on the drivers and what NASCAR is all about — close side-by-side racing and trying to deliver more of that.”
The Atlanta NASCAR Weekend features MENCS qualifying on Friday, February 22, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250 and NASCAR Gander Mountain Truck Series 200-mile race doubleheader on Saturday, February 23, and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, February 24.
Tickets for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 can be purchased by contacting Atlanta Motor Speedway at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.