Denny Hamlin leads the pack on the way to winning the 2019 Daytona 500.
Jerry Markland | Getty Images

NASCAR announces rules changes to reduce speeds, increase safety at superspeedways

NASCAR competition officials released a bulletin to Monster Energy Series teams Wednesday, announcing rules changes intended to reduce speeds at superspeedways.

The changes include a rear spoiler increased from 8 to 9 inches. Officials will also mandate a 1-inch bolt-on track bar mount to change the height from 11 to 12 inches, raising the rear of the car by one inch. Both changes will be in effect for the season’s remaining races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

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NASCAR had eliminated rules for minimum ride heights at superspeedways ahead of the 2018 season, and teams responded by hunkering down the rear of their cars to reduce drag and increase speed. Wednesday’s track bar change is intended to offset those techniques by raising the rear of the car.

The season-opening Daytona 500 was the last superspeedway race with restrictor plates in place to reduce engine horsepower. The next superspeedway event, scheduled April 28 at Talladega, will slow speeds with the use of aerodynamic devices and a tapered engine spacer for a target horsepower figure of 550.

NASCAR officials conducted a two-day test session with the new package on Feb. 18-19, the Monday and Tuesday after the Daytona 500. A NASCAR spokesperson said the observed and predicted speeds from the test were higher than desired, and that Wednesday’s changes are intended to return speeds to a safe range. The spokesperson said that officials “do not anticipate any changes to the style of racing at Daytona and Talladega.”

Teams and drivers participating in that two-day test were:

8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for driver Daniel Hemric
42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet for driver Kyle Larson
88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for driver Alex Bowman