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.”