INDIANAPOLIS— For the Lilly Diabetes 200 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a different look when they hit the track for practice. Teams in the Xfinity garage will be running the 2016 splitter and spoiler, air ducts, and a restrictor plate in effort to create more passing and a better race.
Wayne Auton, Managing Director of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, emphasized on Friday morning that the changes were just for the Xfinity Series only.
“We did some extensive testing with sim work, we did a track test back in October before we went to the next race. This is all about the NASCAR Xfinity Series here at Indianapolis. I want to make that crystal clear,” said Auton.
In October, three teams came to Indianapolis to test the package. The drivers who participated in the test were Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and Brandon Jones.
During the test, single car speeds were running around 56 seconds, but decreased to around 54 seconds when the cars were in a small pack.
“The one thing we did see was three cars running together once they got there cars dialed in is that halfway down the front stretch we had two cars lock up and run the single car down and pass them. We feel very confident that it will create some excitement to the race,” said Auton.
NASCAR added aero ducts in the same place where brake ducts went. The aero ducts are the most notable change according to Auton. Teams cannot make any changes to the aero ducts. NASCAR went to each shop over the past two months to make sure that the aero ducts would fit.
When it comes to returning to the 2016 splitter and spoiler, Wayne Auton said the teams still had those pieces still in the shop from last season. The spoiler and splitter were added to create some balance and wake to create some passing.
“The bigger spoiler it gets the balance back in the car, but we had to add the splitter to the front end to keep the balance there. The bigger spoiler will also make the wake. it’s a combination of the four ingredients on the car that make this package work.”
As teams look for ways to cut costs, NASCAR fully funded the effort this weekend at Indianapolis. Teams only had to build the cars to where NASCAR could place the appropriate parts.
“We supplied the ducts, the foam sealant, and all the bolts. The teams had absolutely no costs in the parts and pieces on the car. They had the spoilers and splitters from last year. We had the ducts in our possession at all times. Nobody could get their hands on them. We personally put them in every car here today.”
Auton emphasized that this was a collaborative effort amongst all partners. Auton stressed that everyone wants this package to work. NASCAR will constantly be in the garage talking to teams and sharing information across manufacturer lines in an effort to make this package work. “The teams were very instrumental in this package. They were all in,” said Auton.
After the event, NASCAR will talk to teams after the event to determine if the package was successful or not. However, Auton emphasized it will be what the fans thought about the event.
“It’s going to be hard to say if this will be a successful race or not. We will talk to fans and see what they say about it. We are very excited about it. It has been awhile since I have been excited about getting to a racetrack to try something new,”
When asked if this package could potentially be used in future races this season or in 2018, Auton stated, “Let’s concentrate on Indianapolis right now. This is a big test for us to. The results of that test in October showed it was the right way to go. We will be out in the garage listening to the drivers to see if we need to make any adjustments before tomorrow,” said Auton.
Ultimately, Auton hopes that it “is going to better than what we saw with three drivers at the test.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400, the only trip of the year to the famous speedway. The first stage will end on lap 50. The second stage will end on lap 100. The final stage will conclude at lap 160.
40 drivers are making the trek to Indianapolis to compete for 40 spots. No drivers will be sent home after qualifying on Saturday evening.
This weekend at Indianapolis kicks off a new weekend schedule for Cup drivers. There will be no on track activities for teams on Friday. However, there will be a NASCAR Fan Fest featuring many of these drivers. The events will consist of, but not limited to, the Hauler Parade, pit-stop contests, and a relay challenge with young fans.
Cup teams will have five sets of Goodyear tires for practice, one set for qualifying, and eight sets for the race. The right side tire will be the same compound ran last year at the speedway. However, Goodyear brought a new left side tire compound that is slated to provide more grip for drivers.
This weekend will be the 24th event from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There have been 19 different pole winners and 13 different race winners. Only four drivers have won from the pole with Kyle Busch being the last driver to do so in last seasons event. In 2000, the race record was set by Bobby Labonte at 155.912 mph. In 2014, Kevin Harvick posted the qualifying record at 188.47 mph.
Here are what driver’s are saying about racing at Indianapolis:
“It’s pretty neat to race at Indy. I remember my first time at the track in the XFINITY Series a couple of years ago and how cool that was and now my first Brickyard 400. I think that’s another milestone for anyone’s career. I’m excited to make my first start in the Brickyard and hopefully have a good showing,” said Erik Jones. “It’s just neat to be at Indy and close to home really for me. It’s neat to be there at a track that not only has the Brickyard 400, but the Indy 500 and all the history involved is pretty special.”
“Indy is Indy. It’s the coolest racetrack that we get to race on, other than Daytona. The history, the prestige, the value of Indianapolis – it is defined by the number of decades they have produced races there and the atmosphere. It’s very electric at Indianapolis,” said Kurt Busch. “For me to actually get to run the Indy 500 in the month of May is a little different than when we race there in July because of the fact it is their backyard, it is their stage. Those Indiana natives love their track. What makes Indy special is the people.”
"It's the Brickyard. It's the history of motorsports in America. It's that yard of bricks. It's a special place when you think about everyone who's been there associated with F1, IndyCars, motorcycles and NASCAR. It's unique because of the four corners, the long straightaways and the flatness. To me, it's just unique in so many ways. It's a fun place to drive and yet, it's quite a challenge at the same time,” said Ryan Newman.
Cup teams will have two practice sessions on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. EDT and 11:00 a.m. EDT on CNBC. Teams will qualify at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday on NBCSN. The Brickyard 400 will air on NBC beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, in conjunction with Performance Racing Network, will broadcast qualifying and the race on the radio.
After a wild race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers head to the world-renown Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the sixth annual Lilly Diabetes 250. The race will be consist of two stages of 30 laps each and a final stage of 40 laps for a race total of 100 laps.
40 drivers are scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis. There will be six notable Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the field including Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Reed Sorenson, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones.
This weekend will look different for fans as NASCAR as brought a new competition package exclusively for Indianapolis. The 2016 spoiler and splitter will be reimplemented, new aero ducts attached to the front bumper, and a 7/8-inch restrictor plate will be used. The goal of this package is to create close racing and passing opportunities for drivers. The new implementations are erected to increase the drat envelope by 25%.
Teams will have six sets of Goodyear tires at their disposal for the whole event at Indianapolis. Teams will run the same tire combination on the right side of the car as they did last season. The left-side tire compound is slated to provide more grip
This will be the sixth event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Xfinity Series. There have only been two pole winners and three race winners. Three races have been won from the pole with Ky. Busch being the last driver to do so last season. In 2014, Ty Dillon set the race record at 137.153 mph. In 2016, Ky. Busch set the pole winning speed at 181.939 mph.
Here is what drivers are saying about this weekend at Indianapolis:
“I am stoked to be going to Indy this weekend, it isn’t every day that we are able to race at such a historic track. This will be an interesting race to see how it plays out with NASCAR adding restrictor plates to the cars this week,” said Matt Tifft. “Everyone will be on the same playing field where strategy will be a huge determining factor in who comes out on top. With Indy being narrow, it will be important for our No. 19 Camry to get up front and stay there so that we don’t get wrapped up in any wrecks.”
“I tested this superspeedway package at IMS and I think we are definitely going to be in a pack, but I really don’t know how it’s going to race with 39 other cars. At the test we did it with three, but it’s going to change a lot when we get a whole pack out there. It’s a unique situation, something we’ve never done in NASCAR with a track like IMS and a Superspeedway package,” said Ryan Reed.
"It is going to be incredible to roll through the gates at Indianapolis and know the history you are amongst. To know the past, the people that have run there and won there, it's truly incredible. Especially coming from the short track background, where you read all of the stories of everyone back in the 1960s, '70s and even before, and how they wanted to get to Indy and that was their goal,” said Daniel Hemric. “To know that nonchalantly we're going there this week is pretty incredible. I'm looking forward to it. I know it is a place where RCR has had success in the past, which is always a good thing. I've won races at the old IRP short track and other tracks in the area, but to know we'll be battling there on the main stage in the Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet is pretty cool.”
On Friday, Xfinity teams will be the only drivers on the track. Teams will have two practice sessions at 1:00 p.m. EDT and 3:00 p.m. EDT on the NBC Sports App. Xfinity teams will qualify at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and race at 3:30 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network, in conjunction with Performance Racing Network, will have radio coverage of the Lilly Diabetes 250.
ROSSBURG, Ohio— After a wild night at Eldora, it was Matt Crafton who was victorious in the Eldora Dirt Derby snapping a 27 race winless streak.
"My first dirt win - a lot of fun," said Crafton, who picked up his 14th career win. "In the second part of that race we down-right just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race. I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally at the end, I said, 'Well, we may have to tear the right- side off to get the win.' I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship."
This is Crafton’s first victory of 2017. He locked his way into the playoffs in September. Crafton is the seventh different winner in 2017. This is Crafton’s 14th career victory.
After having a dominating car for majority of the race, Stewart Friesen finished second.
“Our Halmar team was good. Our Chevy was great. We had a long run truck. We didn’t come to run second. I am proud of these guys,” said Friesen
After going to a backup car in final practice, Chase Briscoe finished third.
Grant Enfinger, John Hunter Nemechek, Bobby Pierce, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Christopher Bell, and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-10.
There were eight lead changes among four different drivers. The caution flag flew for a total of 10 times for 59 laps. The time of race was one hour, 45 minutes, and 44 seconds. The average speed was 42.560 mph. The margin of victory was 1.960 seconds. Crafton and Friesen won the first two stages.
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a trip to Pocono Raceway on July 29th for the Overton’s 150 from Pocono Raceway. The race will be broadcasted on FOX and Motor Racing Network at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
ROSSBURG, Ohio— Stewart Friesen was the fastest qualifier in the fifth annual Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway. This is his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole.
Friesen will start P1 in the first qualifying race. Friesen posted a speed of 90.000 mph at 20.000 seconds.
After moving to a backup car after practice, Chase Briscoe posted a speed of 89.383 mph. Kaz Grala was third fastest at 89.202 mph. Christopher Bell was third fastest at 89.038 mph. Noah Gragson was fifth fastest at 88.933 mph.
The No. 44 Martins Motorsports of JR Heffner withdrew after blowing up an engine during qualifying.
Here is how the heats will look:
John Hunter Nemechek
The qualifying races will air on Fox Sports 2 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The main event will air on Fox Business Network at 9:30 p.m ET.