After several seasons of reducing downforce and limiting horsepower, NASCAR's 2018 rules package won't take quite as big of a bite out of the aerodynamic platform currently employed by teams competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
There are changes, but overall the 2018 package, delivered to teams Tuesday, is more about maintaining the positive momentum from years prior.
Chief among the handful of changes on the aerodynamic and technical front are the use of a common flat splitter and radiator/oil cooler for 2018.
The radiator/oil cooler move is something that is already in play at superspeedways. The common splitter, meanwhile, will be new for all venues.
New for superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) next season will be the elimination of the current ride height rule, a move that should provide safety and perhaps competition benefits.
Part of the reason for a limited number of rule changes can be linked to an evolution in the inspection process that will roll out next season.
The camera-based system which scans the car will replace current grid, module and Laser Inspection Station portions of the inspection process. Engine, chassis and safety inspection stations will remain in place.
On the safety front, [NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene] Stefanyshyn said incident data recorders will be powered by batteries from the vehicles, a move that will allow the IDRs to continuously record instead of recording only upon being triggered by an impact.
"When we run vehicle power, (the IDR) will be looping and we will be able to catch the frames or the information pre-crash which is very, very important as opposed to at-crash start," he said. "We can actually go back in time and watch as that develops.
--- NASCAR.com ---