NASCAR bulletin details safety enhancements, competition tweaks

NASCAR issued a wide-ranging technical bulletin with updates on areas of competition impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as safety enhancements.

NASCAR issued a wide-ranging technical bulletin Friday afternoon, with updates on areas of competition impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as safety enhancements for future races following the findings from a study into the last-lap wreck of the 2020 Daytona 500.

The technical changes include the addition of two roll bars, elimination of aero ducts at superspeedway tracks and a reduction in the size of the throttle body at superspeedways.

Some of the changes are a result of NASCAR’s investigation of the six-car incident at the end of the 2020 Daytona 500, which resulted in a brief hospitalization for Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman after he was inadvertently turned and flipped on the final lap of the February season-opener.

Newman missed the following three races with what he identified as a “brain bruise,” but has been medically cleared to return to the car when the NASCAR Cup Series returns May 17 at Darlington Raceway.

NASCAR officials had studied the car at the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, following the incident. More details about the investigation are expected in the coming weeks.

“As teams prepare for the return to racing, we want to provide as much advance notice as possible for upcoming technical changes,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development. “Some of these updates stem from the investigation into the six-car incident at Daytona, and all are intended to produce a safe and competitive race at all venues. We look forward to providing more details in the near future.”

Other technical changes to the cars include:

Updated roll bar padding specifications, mandatory at all tracks beginning June 1;

Oil reservoir tank or overflow expansion tank must contain a check valve, mandatory at all tracks beginning with Talladega;

Slip tape must be applied along the entire length of the lower rearward facing surfaces of the rear bumper cover and extension, at superspeedways only.

Additionally, with teams beginning to return to the race shops to prepare for the NASCAR Cup Series return, the following also was announced in Friday‘s bulletin.

The temporary ban on most testing will be lifted on May 4, but on-track testing will not be allowed in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Organizations are allocated 150 hours in the wind tunnel through Dec. 31, 2021, with a maximum usage of 70 hours in 2020 and 90 hours in 2021.

Wind tunnel testing of Next Gen vehicles — the debut of which was delayed from 2021 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — by individual organizations is not permitted.

The minimum number of short block sealed engines changes from 13 to eight.