Two day show + new engine rules will add some drama in 2018
Last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR tested a two day show. It’s an enhanced version of the NASCAR weekend.
Standard format: Practice (Friday), Practice/Qualifying (Saturday), Race (Sunday)
Two day format: Practice (Saturday), Qualifying/Race (Sunday)
It’s great for the fans. It’s also great for the teams. The teams save a day at the racetrack. Hotels for 50+ team members can be expensive. Eliminating a single day is a big money saver for these teams. Specifically, it’s a game changer for a small team.
Also, in the enhanced two day format, final practice is more realistic for the team. The final practice is hosted after the truck or Xfinity race. That means the track condition in ‘happy hour’ is closer to what the team will actually see in the race on Sunday.
“I thought it was great. I think they’re gunna do a lot of these next year. They named this practice ‘happy hour’ because it’s the last practice of the day. It was always after the Xfinity race. The track is completely rubbered up. It’s going to be as similar to what you feel in the race, as possible,” Dale Earnhardt Jr talks about the two day NASCAR show.
In 2018, new rules come into play. At the same time, NASCAR is considering the two day format for 50% of the races or more.
What engine rule change will effect the two day show? In 2018, the backup car must come to the racetrack WITHOUT an engine. Oh my!
Currently, if a team wrecks in qualifying, they have an entire day to fix it or prepare the backup. In addition, the backup is ready to go, in the hauler, with an engine installed.
Next year, in the events where NASCAR roles out the two day format this rule change will make things interesting. If a team wrecks in qualifying, they will have 1.5-3 hours to roll out the engineless backup, pull the engine out of the primary and install the engine in the backup. Then, they get the luxury of starting the race without turning a single lap in the backup.
Engine limits/sealed: Backup cars will lack a motor to comply with the new engine limits. Next year, engines will be sealed. They aren’t allowed to tamper with the engine block, crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rods or pistons. In addition, an engine must be used for two races.
“How many cars have we really wrecked in qualifying the last 2-3 years?,” Brian Pattie asks via The Late Shift on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“You can probably put them on one hand. If you know your backup car is sitting in the back of the truck, race ready, but with no motor, you’re probably going to step it back, just a notch,”
“I’m all for it. I think it’s better. A two day show is more traditional to me, as a racer. Then, obviously, spending more time at home with my family is a key ingredient to that,” the crew chief of the #17 concluded.
So, that’s going to be interesting.