NASCAR has confirmed that Cup Series teams will use 510 horsepower with a 7-inch spoiler at the superspeedway races of Daytona, Talladega and Atlanta Motor Speedway this season.
Officials locked in the package before the end of day one of a two-day Next Gen test at Daytona International Speedway. While most teams spent their time doing single-car runs or drafting with a teammate, NASCAR organized a 10-lap drafting session at 2 p.m. ET that 17 drivers took part in. There were no issues in the pack during that run.
John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation, described it as the racing everyone has become accustomed to at Daytona and Talladega, and soon at the newly repaved and reprofiled Atlanta. The speeds also hit the target NASCAR was looking for.
“From we saw today – granted there’s no trophy, there’s no points, there’s no money on the line, so I think the level of intensity when we come back will be ratcheted up significantly – but I think if you look at what the cars were able to do as far as spreading out, grouping back up, moving around, definitely three-wide a couple times, I feel like we’re in a really good spot to put on a pretty good show come February here at the 500,” said Probst.
During the drafting session, teams were in the 187 mph to 189 mph range. Earlier this month, three cars participated in a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta, where the speeds were around 181 to 183 mph.
It’s still to be determined whether the March 20 race at Atlanta will be officiated any differently than years past, given that it’s expected to resemble more of a superspeedway race. The track was recently finished being repaved, in addition to undergoing other significant changes. The banking increased to 28 degrees and the racing surface narrowed from 55 feet to 40 feet.
One notable rule at Daytona and Talladega is the yellow line or out-of-bounds area. Probst did not have a definitive answer on whether that would carry over to Atlanta, and said discussions concerning that race week are just now beginning to take place.
All three series participated in the Goodyear tire test at Atlanta. Kurt Busch, Ross Chastain, and Chris Buescher were the three Cup Series drivers.
“The lines and stuff like that are under discussion right now based off feedback we had from the drivers at that test,” said Probst.
There will again be two horsepower packages used in the Cup Series when the season begins. Aside from the 510-horsepower package for superspeedways, NASCAR announced on Dec. 21 a move to 670 horsepower with a four-inch spoiler for all other events.