NASCAR issues competition rules update for superspeedway, what they are and how this equates to racing

Kudos to NASCAR for making more moves to further enhance the safety for one of the most dangerous racing packages that they have. See, the racing at Daytona and Talladega is the closest side-by-side racing that we see all year. It also features the fastest speeds turned too. 

Combine both and you get what shapes up to be some of the wickedest crashes as well. NASCAR isn’t resting on their laurels. They keep adjusting and adapting as needed to make these cars safer and safer. 

Following Ryan Newman’s frightening crash on the last lap of the 2020 Daytona 500, they made adjustments to the package to help keep these cars from having a repeat of what we saw that night. Well, with Joey Logano’s crash at Talladega back in April, NASCAR was forced to make more moves. 

NASCAR competition officials announced rules changes Tuesday with the intent to slow Cup Series cars by approximately 7-10 mph at superspeedway events.

Officials issued the rules bulletin to teams Tuesday afternoon, mandating a smaller tapered spacer for NASCAR’s largest ovals, with the opening reduced from 57/64-inch to 53/64-inch. The rules also remove the wicker from the spoiler, and a reinforced roll bar that was previously optional — behind the driver compartment and near the rear wheel well — is now mandatory.

The changes will be in effect for the Cup Series’ next superspeedway event, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Aug. 28 at Daytona International Speedway. The race is scheduled as the Cup Series’ regular-season finale, and the 16-driver playoff field will be determined after its conclusion.

The rules shift comes in the wake of Joey Logano’s rollover crash in the series’ most recent superspeedway race, April 25 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford went airborne in a multicar stack-up, skidding on its roof before sliding back to a stop on all four wheels. He emerged unhurt, but was vocal in advocating for safety measures on NASCAR’s fastest ovals.

A day after the crash, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said that keeping cars planted to the racing surface in the event of a high-speed spin was “something that we‘ve been working on and will continue to work on.” Miller said NASCAR competition officials would collaborate with crew chiefs, drivers and team engineers to work through all suggestions and details.

The Cup Series returns to Talladega for the final superspeedway event of the year Oct. 3. It’s scheduled as the final such race for the current-generation Cup Series model before the Next Gen car makes its debut in the 2022 Daytona 500.

The rules bulletin also mandated that two flashing brake lights would be required on Cup Series cars in the event of rain at road-course events. NASCAR officials recently instituted the same rule for Xfinity Series events.

Some fans may wonder, what does this change mean to what we see. Well, while the speeds will be lower, it’s not going to be enough for us to notice a difference from the naked eye. The cars are still going to run in a pack and it’s still going to look incredibly fast. The type of racing could alter a bit though as there’s going to be less drag which may allow the cars up front to be able to hold a lead again. 

See, part of the problem with the tapered spacer package is that the cars in the draft behind get such big runs, there’s nothing the cars in front can do. So, they result to blocking and when they do that, chaos ensues. 

Now, with less drag, it could help a bit for the closing rates to be a bit smaller. Decreasing the speeds that they’re running can help keep these cars more grounded too which is a win-win for all. 

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