2016 NASCAR low downforce package debuts this weekend

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The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will debut its much-anticipated 2016 lower downforce aerodynamics package this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The package is similar to the setup used at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway last year. It was met with rave reviews from drivers, media and fans.

Lowering the downforce on a car makes it harder to drive, which puts more emphasis on driver skill and increases the potential for more passing.

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 Changes to the car for this season’s aero package include reductions to:

-          Spoiler – 2015: 6” tall, 2016: 3.5” tall

  • Air coming over the top of the car hits the spoiler, which pushes the back of the car down. A shorter spoiler creates less downforce than a taller spoiler.

-          Splitter – 2015: 2” overhang, 2016: .25” overhang

  • The splitter “splits” air and forces it to accelerate under the car, creating a high-pressure zone above the splitter and a low-pressure zone underneath that sucks the car down. Shortening the splitter reduces downforce.

-          Radiator Pan – 2015: 38” wide, 2016: 33” wide

  • The radiator pan is a flat panel that extends behind the splitter and under the car, deflecting air to create more downforce. A narrower panel is less effective in deflecting air, which slows airflow and creates less downforce.

“The whole series is looking forward to going to Vegas, Atlanta and all of those places with this new package,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. told Motor Racing Network. “It’s a whole new ballgame. Everybody is wondering where everybody else is after the off-season. Every year, you get another measure of your competition because everybody gets a little better. We’ll see how that all works out once we get to the next couple tracks.”

Teams will try the low downforce package at Michigan International Speedway during a test on May 17. Details to come.

The low downforce package will make its race debut at MIS for the FireKeepers Casino 400 in June.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series roars onto Michigan International Speedway twice in 2016. The first of the track’s two NASCAR weekends is June 10-12 with the Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series on June 10; NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 11; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 12.

The Sprint Cup Series will wind up its summertime stint at MIS on August 28 with the Pure Michigan 400. The Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation & Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation is on August 27.

“NASCAR has worked tirelessly with our teams, drivers, manufacturers and Goodyear to develop a rules package that provides fans with the best racing possible,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The success of the races at Kentucky and Darlington in similar trim proved extremely valuable in accelerating rules development for 2016. Now, as teams have even more time to prepare and a strong baseline of data, we anticipate the racing to be even better.”

Characteristics of the lower downforce rules package includes more off-throttle time for drivers and decreasing corner speeds. This generates more passing zones over the entire track, and allows for multiple tire combinations to be levered.

“Our team at the NASCAR R&D Center is constantly looking at the racing, and evaluating ways to continue to improve it,” O’Donnell said. “Using science and technology and qualitative data compiled from world-class engineers throughout the industry as our guideposts, we will always look to make the racing better for our fans.”

Michigan International Speedway continues to keep ticket prices low for 2016. Race fans who purchase early will have the best prices and the best seats. Tickets for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race start at $44, with children 12 and under free in certain sections, ensuring families a chance to see NASCAR at affordable prices. You can camp all week long for one price, starting at $155.

The track will also continue its junior pricing program where kids 13-16 are half price in reserve seats.

© 2017 Michigan International Speedway

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