NASCAR Michigan Notebook: Potential NASCAR Rules Package Change Draws Support From Drivers

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Martin Truex Jr. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr. (Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Given his recent success, Martin Truex Jr. might seem an unlikely candidate to welcome a significant change to the rules package for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car.

After all, Truex has led the most laps in each of the last four points races and scored a breakthrough victory last Sunday at Pocono.

Truex, however, is confident his Furniture Row Racing team has the wherewithal to deal with any potential change NASCAR happens to make.

Earlier this week at Darlington Raceway, Jimmie Johnson tested a competition package that featured less downforce and drag, the result of a substantial reduction in the height of the rear spoiler. Several reports have suggested a change to the package could be made in time for the Kentucky race weekend in mid-July.

“I have as many questions about it as everybody else,” Truex said on Friday at Michigan International Speedway’s media center. “What’s it going to be like? Is it going to do what they think? Is it going to do what some of the drivers think it’s going to do?

“Honestly, I think you could pretty much throw any rules package at this team, and we’d be able to figure it out. We’ve got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing, the way we work together, our resources, how we use those resources. It’s going to be different for everyone, and it’s just a matter of who can figure it out quickest.”

Carl Edwards, a long-time proponent of lower downforce, said he would welcome a change to the package, even if it occurred during the season.

“Are you kidding me?” Edwards exclaimed. “I’d be in favor of anything that makes the cars able to race around each other and to put more of the speed into the drivers’ hands. I know NASCAR is all for the same thing. Everybody wants this to be the best possible show for the fans, and I don’t think NASCAR is scared to make changes.”

Recently, a number of drivers convened to form a representative council, which met with NASCAR officials two weeks ago at Dover.

“I think it’s really cool that they’ve been talking with the drivers more,” Edwards said, “and they’ve been more involved with it, and without knowing really the details, I think we’re heading in the right direction.

“I have a sense that there will be some neat things coming up.”


Fifty years after its 1-2-3 finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, Ford Motor Company will return to the iconic endurance race next year with an equally iconic car, the GT, based on the new ultra-high performance supercar that will be available as a production model next year.

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will field the Le Mans entry as well as full-time teams in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016. The GT will makes its competitive debut in January in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

That means NASCAR’s Kyle Larson, part of the winning Daytona Prototype team in this year’s Rolex 24, will have to get used to a new style of ride.

“It’s going to be different,” Larson acknowledged. “I’m already nervous about that, because, in the prototype, you always look ahead, but I would imagine in those types of cars, you’re always looking behind for the prototypes to be coming.

“It’ll be a different style of race, but I had fun doing the 24 Hours, and I’m excited to go back and try it again.”


Among all the honors accorded four-time champion Jeff Gordon, the one conceived by Phoenix International Raceway is among the highest.

On Nov. 15 – the day of the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at the one-mile track – PIR will become Jeff Gordon Raceway.

The race will be the next-to-last in Gordon’s career as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Gordon, a four-time winner at Phoenix, will move to the FOX Sports broadcast booth in 2016.

“This has been a very special year for the fans and the tracks, and you guys just took it to another level,” Gordon told PIR president Bryan Sperber during Friday’s announcement at Michigan

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