Exclusive: Dale Jr. thinks 2015 rules package ‘will favor me’
NASCAR has made a number of significant changes for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, including reducing horsepower from roughly 850-900 to 725 or so, and cutting aerodynamic downforce, all in the aim of improving competition.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of four Sprint Cup races in 2014, including the Daytona 500, likes the new rules package and how it fits his own style.
In an exclusive interview, Earnhardt Jr. told FOXSports.com that the on-track product shouldn’t be significantly different in 2015.
"I think the (rules) package will favor me," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I think it will favor the majority of the guys in the field. We did run a little bit of that package at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) the other day (at a Goodyear tire test). To be honest with you, it feels very, very similar to what we ran last year, aside from the engine. But once you run with that engine package for about a day, you almost forget you have it. Right away, the difference is noticeable, but after a while, you sort of get used to it and forget you’re even down on power compared to last year."
All in all, the third-generation driver liked what he drove.
"The (2015) cars drive and feel really, really similar, to me, than to what we had this past season, which I think I adapted to really nicely," he told FOXSports.com.
At the urging of the drivers, NASCAR tested an even more exotic package, although not one that will be used this season.
"We also tried a three-and-a-half-inch rear spoiler, which is a completely opposite shift into a different direction," said Earnhardt Jr. "It’s sort of a trial kind of thing that the drivers are pursuing. Got to run with that a little bit and see how that felt. That’s about three or four inches shorter on the rear spoiler than we have today."
Asked if he expected NASCAR to adopt that package next year, Earnhardt Jr. said, "It’s just an idea. They were just out there trying some new things. We were able to run some laps. That was pretty interesting; enjoyed that, too."