NASCAR Changes Rules to Try And Improve Short Track Racing

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR has changed the rules on its aerodynamic package for short tracks and road courses because the racing didn’t improve at those venues under rules introduced last season.

NASCAR had been fairly adamant the rules package would remain unchanged but reversed course late last season when it was evident the racing clearly had suffered at smaller tracks. The most glaring issue was a ho-hum penultimate race at Phoenix Raceway, which this season will host the championship finale.

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A week after the dud in Phoenix, NASCAR President Steve Phelps promised fans the sanctioning body was working on improving the racing at short tracks.

Teams will now use a separate rules package at Bristol, Dover, Martinsville, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Richmond, the Charlotte Roval, Sonoma and Watkins Glen. The changes include a significantly smaller rear spoiler, which shrinks from an 8-inch height to 2.75 inches. The front splitter’s overhang will now measure a quarter-inch (down from 2 inches), with approximately 2-inch wings (reduced from 10.5 inches).

There will be alterations to the radiator pan by removing its vertical fencing in an effort to reduce front-end downforce. The dimensions of the pan remain the same.

“Our goal has always been to provide the best possible racing for our fans, regardless of venue,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The 2019 Cup Series race package delivered some of the most exciting races on intermediate and larger tracks that our sport has seen, however we felt we could make improvements to short tracks and road courses.

“We believe we have found the right balance for 2020 that will allow teams to build off their previous knowledge of this package and showcase exciting side-by-side racing at tracks of all sizes.”

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.