NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations has said that a formal announcement on engine changes for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season will come before next month’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Today at a sponsor summit for Iowa Speedway (which had NASCAR become its new owner last fall), Steve O’Donnell said that the final overall racing package for 2015 would also see changes involving downforce, aerodynamics, and tires.
This comes weeks after NASCAR CEO Brian France said in a SiriusXM NASCAR Radio interview that significant changes, including a likely reduction in horsepower, would be made in the near-future.
In additional comments to The Des Moines Register, O’Donnell said that teams have already been notified of where NASCAR was going with the changes and that the process of finalizing the 2015 engine package was underway.
O’Donnell wouldn’t divulge exact details of the package, but did perhaps show a glimpse of how drivers would have to adapt to it.
“If you combine the aero package with that [reduction of] horsepower [and] allow some aero changes with the engines going into the corner, drivers have to get off the gas and they’re able to maneuver around a little bit more,” O’Donnell said according to the Register’s Chad Leistikow.
“Combine that with Goodyear and a little softer tire, now you’re able to move around a little bit more.”
And while the engine has been the most talked-about aspect of this new package, O’Donnell also emphasized the importance of the tires, calling them “a big part of this.”
As you’d figure by now, the final goal is to boost the product on the 1.5-mile ovals, which make up the majority of the Sprint Cup schedule.
NASCAR rolled out a new rules package on the Generation 6 cars for this season, and while O’Donnell believes it’s helped the show on the 1.5-milers, he also noted that there’s still work to do.
“Brian’s talked about more and more lead changes,” O’Donnell said. “That’s the end goal.”
While the Cup Series has only visited two 1.5-mile ovals so far this year (Las Vegas and Texas), the first eight races have seen an increase in several averages compared to last year, such as number of leaders per race, green flag passes, and, yes, lead changes.