NASCAR gave the 2021 Cup Series rules package to the teams on Thursday afternoon, and included the most notable change of which package would run for two races at Darlington Raceway next year.
In Darlington (scheduled May 9 and September 5), teams will use a 750-horsepower, low-downforce race package. In 2020, the package was run on tracks 1 mile in length and below and on the road. In 2020 the 550-horsepower package was used in three races held on the 1.366-mile Darlington track.
Related: See 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule | What is a reduced package?
The 750-horsepower package will also be used for the first Cup race at that venue on June 20 at the Nashville Superspeedway. With that change and addition, 23 of the 36 races will be run with 750 horsepower.
In addition to more horsepower, that package includes:
– Very small rear spoiler, which shrinks from a height of 8 inches to 2.75 inches.
– The overhang of the front splitter measures about a quarter inch (below 2 inches) with a wingspan of about 2 inches (less than 10.5 inches).
– Changes to the radiator pan, removing its vertical fence in an effort to reduce front-end downforce. The dimensions of the pan remain the same.
“We continuously review the race package for our fans to try on the best possible racing,” said John Probst, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, NASCAR. “When we brought in the short track / road course package this season, Darlington was not a part of it due to its unique shape. We are evaluating data from both race packages, as well as feedback from drivers, teams and OEMs and feel that the 750 hp / low downforce package best fits the track. “
The rule package will generally remain in 2021 as teams want to build their knowledge and experience from the race package in 2020 to replace the Next Gen car for the 2022 season.
Related: Next gen car coming in 2022 | Next General Trial Resumes in Dover
Aero packages for new road courses on the Cup schedule – The Circuit of the Americas, the Indianapolis Road Course and Road America – will be determined by the sanctioning body, which will work the best of the package. This same exercise was done earlier in the summer to determine which package to run at the Daytona Road Course, which occurred late for the 2020 program.
Among other changes, teams must compete with a small block seal engine in at least 16 points of events. It ranges from a minimum of 13. Teams are also restricted to 150 restricted CFDs (Computational Fluid Dynamics) per calendar month.
Below is a breakdown of each engine package and where it will be used:
750 horsepower: Bristol Motor Speedway (both oval and dirt), Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, The Circuit of the Americas, Darlington Raceway, Daytona Road Course (which is just running Clash) Dover International Speedway, Indianapolis Road Course, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Phoenix Raceway, Richmond Raceway, Road America, Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
550 horsepower: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Cocoa Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.
Superspeedway: Daytona International Speedway and Taldega Superspeedway.