Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Bringing Lower-Downforce Package to Cup Short Tracks, Road Courses

The NASCAR Cup Series’ road course and short track events will see changes to their downforce package for the 2020 season, NASCAR announced Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The reduced-downforce package is designed to attempt to promote enhanced competition at these tracks, per NASCAR.

Bristol Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway are the shorter oval tracks that will use the package, while the road courses at Watkins Glen International, Sonoma Raceway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL will also utilize it.

“Our first and foremost core goal is to deliver great racing, and I think that we constantly evaluate the things that we do on the race track, however and wherever we need to, to improve that situation for them,” John Probst, NASCAR svp, innovation and racing development, said in a NASCAR release. “And as part of our normal ongoing critique of ourselves and how we’re doing, we just felt like this was a good opportunity for us to improve the on-track product at the short tracks and road courses.”

The reduced-downforce package includes a smaller rear spoiler (2.75 inches, down from 8), a smaller front splitter overhang (a quarter inch, down from 2), smaller wings (2 inches, down from 10.5) and radiator pan changes that remove the vertical fencing.

The goal is to promote less stabilization on these tracks, bringing about more driver input and handling importance.

About the author

Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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Billy G.

Perhaps a drawing or illustration to show what the “package” changes are to improve the “product” would be of benefit us non-nascar types.


My guess is it is similar to the 2018 low down force package.

Bill B

I hope these changes make a difference. I somehow doubt it but at least the acknowledged and issue and made an attempt to make it better.


Are they getting rid of the restrictor plates, *ahem*, “tapered spacers”, at the short tracks too? If not, I’m not watching.


I thought the same thing. Give them all the HP they can get out of the engines. But we know that won’t happen. They all have the Brian mentality and know what the fans want.


We will just have to see. At least they are doing something. Realized they had a problem and tried the least cost intrusive fix. I like that as these cars are only in use for one more year.


To: B. Rutherford (managing editor)
I have enjoyed reading and learning from Frontstretch for years. I don’t know much about Billboard and don’t have a clue about Hawthorne Heights, (Ohio??

I do care about Frontstretch and don’t understand why for example pertinent details are omitted from the “rag”. When writing about measurement changes of spoilers, eg: “The reduced-downforce package includes a smaller rear spoiler (2.75 inches, down from 8”. Are you really talking about from 8″ spoilers down to 2.75 inches or are you writing about a 2.8 inch spoiler being reduced to a 2.75″ spoiler. Get real! Get specific! … for those of readers who don’t build spoilers or competition cars. Same holds true with the other changes your writer describes.

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