Drivers Unsure of What to Expect Sunday Out of New Aero Packageby Kyle Pokrefky June 11, 2016 0 comments
BROOKLYN, Mich. — NASCAR’s latest aero package in the Sprint Cup Series has already drawn rave reviews from the garage prior to its in-race debut.
Debuting at Michigan International Speedway this weekend will be a modified package that features a further-shortened splitter and spoiler and an adjustment to the rear deck fins on the car.
The changes go hand-in-hand with modifications made ahead of the Sprint All-Star Race that included the reduction of cooling fans on the car and rules regarding the skew of the rear tires.
With the tweaks made to the existing package, further amounts of downforce and sideforce are to be taken away from the car. With that, higher straightaway speeds with a considerable drop in mid-corner speeds are to be expected this weekend. In qualifying trim, cars were witnessed screaming into Michigan’s first corner with speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.
If you ask Brad Keselowski, he’ll tell you that the overall performance of the new package will remain a mystery until Sunday’s race, the FireKeepers Casino 400, gets underway.
“We are all kind of learning together how that will affect the racing,” Keselowski said. “I don’t think anyone will have an answer until they drop the green on Sunday.
“That seems to be normally be the case here where races are different than practice and qualifying. I feel really good about it. It is fun to drive. You enter the corner almost 220 mph and you turn left and the front goes and the back doesn’t always go with it. That is quite a feeling for sure.”
Kurt Busch hopes that the changes made to the package will further the current on-track product’s tendency of creating off-throttle time and side-by-side racing. While there was plenty of off-throttle time to be shown in practice, the side-by-side racing aspect of it won’t truly be revealed until the race.
He too is unsure of what exactly to expect out of the package come Sunday.
“What I’m anticipating is hopefully a lot of slipping and sliding; a loss of momentum, and the ability to stack up some guys and to get a big run from third, fourth, fifth on back,” Busch said on Friday. “That’s what we hope we see and that we don’t have a leader that just gets out there and then we’re not able to chase him down. And then the restarts are going to be that much more exciting because of the lack of downforce and how stable will the cars be side-by-side? Nobody knows that yet.”
The FireKeepers Casino 400 will start Sunday at 1:00 p.m ET and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and MRN.
Photo Credit: Josh Hedges/Getty Images