Sprint Cup Series teams will bear a vast majority of the cost to implement a new aerodynamic rules package for next month’s race at Kentucky Speedway, the Observer has learned.
According to a NASCAR memo distributed to teams this week, a copy of which was provided to the Observer, Cup series teams will be responsible for the cost of virtually all the changes required for cars to participate in next month’s Quaker State 400.
NASCAR officially unveiled the rules package on Tuesday, but teams were informed of the sanctioning body’s intentions late last week.
The rules package – incorporated to help provide a better quality of racing, including more lead changes – features a significant reduction in downforce, changes to the rear spoiler and front splitter and gears.
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According to the memo, teams are responsible for the cost of bringing an extra vehicle to the planned additional test day at Kentucky (if they so choose), the splitter change, a radiator pan change and the four additional sets of tires for the extra practice time.
NASCAR will foot the bill for two rear spoilers from Richardson Racing Products for each car number.
Sources said the cost distribution – with teams bearing most of the expense – is not out of line for rules package changes, although this change is more rushed than others with the race just a month out.
“I think when you look at the industry as a whole, we feel as though we’re as nimble an industry as we’ve ever been, with the ability to evolve almost in real time, and I think that’s great news for the fans,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer.
“In this case, you know, you look at the depth of communication and resulting alignment across the board, and that really provided the validation we needed that we could all move forward for the race in Kentucky.”
The memo also states that teams must have equipment on hand in order to revert back to the original 2015 rules package at any time during the Kentucky race weekend.
It is unlikely, however, that such a change would be made except if bad weather provided little or no practice time with the new package or a safety concern was raised once the package had seen track time.
She said ‘yes’
NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., announced Wednesday on his Twitter account that he is engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Amy Reimann.
Earnhardt, 40, proposed while the two are vacationing in Germany. Earnhardt has been interested in tracing his family’s roots. Heproposed in a German church once frequented by his ancestors.
Earnhardt’s sister and business partner, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, confirmed the engagement in a tweet, offering congratulations in German.
Dillon gets new crew chief
Austin Dillon will have a new crew chief in the Cup series beginning with the June 28 race at Sonoma, Calif.
Richard “Slugger” Labbe will take over as crew chief for Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet, replacing Gil Martin, who will move into a leadership role within RCR’s research and development department. Dillon, the 2013 Xfinity Series champion, is currently 23rd in the Cup series standings with just one top-10 finish.
Staff writer Joe Marusak contributed.