sunny.png
Monday September 23rd, 2019 1:48PM

NASCAR's new rule package shrouded in unknowns before debut

By The Associated Press

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — NASCAR rolled into Atlanta Motor Speedway ready to begin a new era of racing that is shrouded in unknowns.

Will it be racier? That's the point.

Will it make Sunday's event at Atlanta exciting? That remains to be seen.

"We don't have that answer. I can tell you that it will be drastically different than what we have done before," said Kevin Harvick, who routed the field to win last year's race.

"I would hate to speculate on what the direction of it is going to be and what we are going to do because we don't know. That is good for everyone watching. We have more questions with zero answers, actually."

The competition package for 2019 was not used in last week's season-opening Daytona 500 and a version of it will debut Sunday on Atlanta's abrasive 1.54-mile quad oval. The lower-horsepower, high-downforce and high-drag formula is designed to slow the cars, bunch them together and create a more entertaining product.

But Atlanta is an anomaly in that its racing surface is one of the oldest in the series and was last repaved in 1997. It is rough and bumpy, quickly eats away at tires and is typically a handful even for the veterans.

In simplest terms, Sunday's race may look nothing like how the package races the rest of the season.

"This track is unlike any other track, as we all know, with the surface and bumps and the character," said Jimmie Johnson, who leads all active drivers with five previous wins at Atlanta.

"My focus has been to get drivability right and then make speed a secondary item. We'll see how it all plays out. This package is so new to all of us."

An early version of the package was used in last year's All-Star race to rave reviews from fans that prompted NASCAR to implement it for this season.

Roughly half the field tested the package last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where NASCAR races next week, and the venue that is expected to be a truer indicator of what the competition might look like the rest of the season.

It's made Atlanta a mystery as teams spent Friday trying to figure out how to attack the track with this competition package.

"Sunday you will find out, I guess, if somebody spanks the field," said Atlanta native Chase Elliott. "Until then, I am really not sure what we are going to have. I'm sure there is going to be guys that get it better than others to start, but I think as time goes, everybody is going to continue to develop and make it better and improve their cars and their packages for these race tracks.

"I think Atlanta, too, is a little different than some other mile-and-a-half tracks we are going to visit with the surface. I think your car is probably going to have to drive a little better here than it might at other places."

The field Sunday will be three drivers short of the 40-car limit, with Gaunt Brothers Racing the only team without one of the charters that guarantees a spot in the field to come from Daytona to Atlanta. Parker Kligerman, the NBC Sports reporter who is trying to get back into a full-time ride, is back in the car after successfully making last week's Daytona 500.

The 37 cars is the lowest since the road course at Watkins Glen last August, but up one car from the field at the Atlanta race last February.

Corey LaJoie came to Atlanta with bonus funding from Old Spice, which got a strong return on its investment from its Daytona sponsorship that featured LaJoie's entire face on the hood of his car. Acorns, an online investment app, is making its NASCAR debut as sponsor for Ryan Newman and Bubba Wallace, driving for cash-strapped Richard Petty Motorsports, has a one-race deal at Atlanta with McDonalds.

Garrett Smithley, with three previous Cup starts, is making his season debut in the car owned by new team Spire Motorsports. Spire at the end of last year bought the charter held by defunct Furniture Row Racing — and its one of the most valuable entrants in the series. Furniture Row won the 2017 championship with Truex Jr. to rank that charter, now owned by startup Spire, on the top end of the financial payouts in NASCAR's system.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, AP Online - Georgia News, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
California parents of 13 plead guilty to torture, abuse
A California couple pleaded guilty Friday to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point it stunted their growth
6:29PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: Venezuela aid concert in Colombia wraps up
Musicians are wrapping up a giant concert to pressure Nicolas Maduro to let in humanitarian aid into Venezuela with a rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine."
6:17PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Criminal charges possible in North Carolina's US House fight
With a new election called in North Carolina's disputed congressional race, a significant question remains unanswered: Who could face criminal charges after a state elections board hearing exposed evidence of an illegal ballot harvesting operation
6:09PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Boeheim to coach Syracuse vs. Duke after fatal car crash
Boeheim to coach Syracuse against top-ranked Duke on Saturday in team's 1st game since fatal car accident
5:46PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting prostitute
Police say New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after he was twice videotaped in a sex act at a Florida massage parlor.
5:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
Blue Jackets acquire center Matt Duchene from Ottawa
Blue Jackets acquire center Matt Duchene from Ottawa
4:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
McDowell defends Daytona 500 decision not to push Logano
McDowell defends Daytona 500 decision not to push Logano
5:23PM ( 3 days ago )
Joe Gibbs dedicates Daytona 500 victory to late son
Denny Hamlin did it again at Daytona and won NASCAR's biggest race of the year for the second time
2:16AM ( 4 days ago )
Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years
Denny Hamlin did it again at Daytona and won NASCAR's biggest race of the year for the second time
9:22PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Atlanta officer charged in wreck that led driver to lose arm
An Atlanta police officer has been indicted on charges including reckless driving in a wreck that caused another driver to lose an arm
8:57AM ( 1 month ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
The Latest: JGR, Fox Sports pay tribute to J.D. Gibbs in 500
Joe Gibbs Racing and Fox Sports have paid tribute to late JGR co-founder J.D. Gibbs
3:35PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Pole-sitter Byron leads Daytona 500 to green
The Daytona 500 begins with William Byron leading the 40-car to the green flag
3:10PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Watt prepares for Daytona 500 by watching film
J.J. Watt used an offseason film session to prepare for the Daytona 500
1:30PM ( 5 days ago )
NASCAR
Perfect Storm: The 500 and fight that changed NASCAR forever
1979 Daytona 500 changed NASCAR forever, with assist from huge snowstorm and spectacular finish
11:28AM ( 6 days ago )
Logano and Harvick lead Ford sweeps in Daytona qualifying
Ford drivers swept both of the Daytona 500 qualifying races to position the manufacturer for a strong run in "The Great American Race." Kevin Harvick won the first qualifying race and Joey Logano won the second
10:26PM ( 1 week ago )
Logano leads Ford sweep in Daytona 500 qualifying races
Joey Logano led another Ford sweep in the second qualifying race for the Daytona 500
9:47PM ( 1 week ago )
NASCAR Sprint Cup
California parents of 13 plead guilty to torture, abuse
A California couple pleaded guilty Friday to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them to the point it stunted their growth
6:29PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: Venezuela aid concert in Colombia wraps up
Musicians are wrapping up a giant concert to pressure Nicolas Maduro to let in humanitarian aid into Venezuela with a rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine."
6:17PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Criminal charges possible in North Carolina's US House fight
With a new election called in North Carolina's disputed congressional race, a significant question remains unanswered: Who could face criminal charges after a state elections board hearing exposed evidence of an illegal ballot harvesting operation
6:09PM ( 31 minutes ago )
'Empire' producers cut Smollett from season's last episodes
The producers of the TV show "Empire" say Jussie Smollett's character will be removed from the final two episodes of this season
6:07PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Kershaw shut down by Dodgers after ace not feeling right
Clayton Kershaw has been shut down indefinitely because manager Dave Roberts says the Los Angeles Dodgers ace "didn't feel right" after two discouraging outings on the mound
6:03PM ( 37 minutes ago )