NASCAR executives Steve O’Donnell, John Bobo, Scott Miller, John Probst, Jay Fabian, Wayne Auton and Brad Moran met with members of the media on Monday to discuss safety updates and new rules for the 2021 season.
Among the topics covered was the Next Gen car, where Probst said the development is completely finished. Meanwhile, the next Next Gen test will take place on March 16 and 17 at Richmond Raceway. At the end of March, all three manufactures — Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota — will participate in a Next Gen test at Martinsville Speedway, making it the first time all three OEMs will be at a test together. The unveil of the car will likely come late spring.
For the second and third races of the season in Cup — Daytona road course and Homestead-Miami Speedway — the open teams will be determined with the two highest points based on the 2020 rundown and two highest in 2021 owner points. Also, at any new venues, Cup drivers can compete in any series, except at the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash races and Triple Truck Challenge, along with the regular season finale and playoffs.
NASCAR will add the low downforce package to races at the Daytona road course, as well as the events at Darlington Raceway and Nashville Superspeedway. All added road courses to the schedule — Circuit of the Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and Road America — will use the 750 horsepower package.
The dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway will look similar to past Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, featuring qualifying heats to set the starting lineup. The race format is to be determined.
NASCAR has increased the field count of the Truck Series to 36 trucks per race, and 40 when there is no practice or qualifying. The Xfinity Series will see 36 cars per race when there is practice and qualifying as well.
A new rule from the rulebook states that should a crew member behind the pit wall lose their balance and touch pit road while grabbing a tire, it will no longer a penalty. Also, for the champion provisional in both Xfinity and Trucks, the champion must have won the title in the past 10 years.