NASCAR bringing back ultra-low downforce package at Michigan

Thursday morning, NASCAR issued a significant technical bulletin detailing multiple rules  Sprint Cup rules changes pertaining to car construction and safety, gear ratios, digital dash software, cylinder heads and other areas. 

But the big news is that NASCAR will bring back its ultra-low downforce package that was used earlier this year at Kentucky Speedway and Michigan International Speedway for the August 28 Pure Michigan 400 at MIS. 

Analysis: What's behind all the changes in NASCAR?

Assuming the second MIS race goes well, this setup — or something very close to it — will form the basis of the 2017 Sprint Cup rules package. But NASCAR officials have said it will not be used in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

In terms of car construction, NASCAR announced structural updates to strengthen the chassis. The floorboard, driver’s anti-intrusion plating, firewall and footbox are areas that will be improved. These updates will be optional for 2016, mandatory at Daytona and Talladega next year and at all tracks in 2018.

Gene Stefanyshyn, the sanctioning body’s vice president, innovation and racing development, said the aero package is being tested again because the sanctioning body wants to finalize its 2017 rules as soon as possible.

NASCAR bringing back what drivers have been begging for

“We’ve talked to our community, which includes the drivers, the teams, the owners and the OEMs (automakers) and we’ve all arrived at the decision that we thought it would be a good thing to go back to Michigan II with the Michigan I package,” said Stefanyshyn.

Stefanyshyn said the 2017 rules package will not be used in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which is consistent with the approach the organization took last season.

“We’ve always wanted to keep the Chase clean and not introduce anything new in there,” said Stefanyshyn. “That’s the way we handled it last year and the (NASCAR) community has felt that’s the best way to handle it this year.”