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XFINITY Series to run high-drag package at Indy

July 20, 2015, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com

Sprint Cup Series also using new aerodynamic package at the Brickyard

The NASCAR XFINITY Series is scheduled to run a high-drag rules package this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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The new aerodynamic package was highlighted by Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, in a Monday morning debrief with NASCAR.com. A NASCAR spokesperson confirmed the rules change will be in place for Saturday's Lilly Diabetes 250 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, IMS Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 18th of 33 XFINITY Series races this season.

The rules package will mimic the setup to be used for the first time by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis in Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, IMS Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The changes are expected to reduce speeds and promote tighter racing on the 2.5-mile track, potentially creating a pack-style competition.

"From our perspective, the high-drag package that's going to be implemented in both the XFINITY and Cup Series, hopefully the ability of the cars to draft a little bit for that second or chased pack to be able to catch the leader," O'Donnell said. "Again, it's new. It's a new package for Indianapolis so we'll evaluate it as we did for Kentucky to see what we learned, what was good, what we can tweak going forward. And I'm most proud about the work the industry has done, really coming together on somewhat short notice, putting a package together and being able to go out there and put on the best race possible, especially for the fans at Indy who come out each and every year."

The Sprint Cup package calls for a rear spoiler extended to 9 inches with a 1-inch wicker bill attached, a 2-inch splitter and a 43-inch radiator pan. On the XFINITY side, the rear spoiler will be extended 2 inches and teams will use a rear bumper cover specifically used at superspeedways at Daytona and Talladega.

XFINITY cars have 75 less horsepower than Sprint Cup cars (650 in XFINITY to 725 in Cup), and O'Donnell explained how running it in both series will help the sanctioning body.

"It'll offer just something a little bit different," O'Donnell said. "Obviously the XFINITY cars are somewhat underpowered compared to Cup so it'll give us a look at how the power works with both of those packages, what are some of the gears that we used and what, if any, tweaks do we need to make coming out of Indianapolis. Just provide some different data for us for both series.

"Obviously a different competitor level for both of those, but anything we can do to improve both the XFINITY and Cup races, we wanted to do that. We think we've hit on that for the weekend."

The move follows NASCAR's implementation of a low-downforce rules package for the Sprint Cup Series' race at Kentucky Speedway on July 11, when teams raced with shorter spoilers and splitters to place a greater emphasis on driver input. Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried out the new high-drag package during a tire test last week at 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, saying that he approved of NASCAR's search for track-specific rules packages.
 
"I think the tracks, the racing -- it's a good way to sort of tweak and adjust the racing to make better racing at that track," Earnhardt said. "Some guys like more downforce, some guys like less downforce and different packages are going to lend themselves to different drivers, and that's the same way with race tracks. The same thing that makes a great race at Kentucky might not make a great race at Indy or Michigan, so it's a great time to be involved in the sport. For me, it's exciting to go through these."