NASCAR 2015 Season Preview
America’s favorite racing series will be back in its 67th installment on February 14th in Daytona International Speedway, and after years with ESPN, it will be broadcast by Fox and NBC. Per an agreement, Fox will broadcast the first part of the season, whereas NBC is due to broadcast the second part, including the final race.
The schedule will consist of 36 races and two exhibitions, including two Budweiser Duels, the qualifying events for the Daytona 500. To avoid conflict with Fourth of July fireworks, the Coke Zero 400 will move from Saturday to Sunday night, but will return to Saturday in 2016. Charlotte and Kansas have swapped the race dates, and the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was moved to be the second race of the season. The race at Bristol Motor Speedway has been moved from March to April, thus creating a series of consecutive events at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club. After an eleven-year absence, the Bojangles’ Southern 500 will return to Labor Day weekend. And due to the calendar, a third off-weak was added between Bristol and the Bojangles’ Southern 500.
Again, there will be three manufacturers: Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota. This year, there has been a new set of rules, including the banning of private testing, thus allowing teams to participate in NASCAR and Goodyear tests only. Also, there won’t be a pre-season test at Daytona International Speedway, but the biggest changes have been made to the cars. For example, horsepower has been lowered from 850 to 725, flat valve lifters will be replaced with roller valve lifters, lower differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM will be in use, and the rear spoiler height will be reduced from 8 inches to 6 inches. There will be an optional adjustable driver track bar, and also, the size of the radiator pan has been decreased from 43 inches to 38 inches. This will decrease the speed by 3-4 MPH, but as senior vice president of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn said, the cars have been re-balanced well.
A total of 20 complete schedule teams will enroll, accompanied by six limited schedule teams. There has been several team changes, such as the folding of Identity Ventures Racing. Tommy Baldwin Racing has plans to reduce to one full-time car, whereas The Motorsport Group has announced they will field their Cup team. As for the drivers, the most notable leave was that from Marcos Ambrose who left Richard Petty Motorsports to race in V8 Supercars series, and will be replaces by Sam Hornish Jr., while Terry Labonte will be replaced by his younger brother Bobby Labonte. Cloe Whitt has moved to Front Row Motorsport, while Trevor Bayne will drive full-time for Roush Fenway Racing. Joe Gibbs Racing has added Carl Edwards as their fourth driver in the team. Also, due to health issues Brian Vickers will miss the first half of the season.
As the series is just about to begin, stay tuned for our coverage on one of the oldest and most exciting racing series in the world!