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The Art of Racing - New year, new rules of racing

Here are just a few things to look forward for NASCAR in 2019 and beyond. 

The new rules package seems to change race-to-race as NASCAR tries for better on-track racing. After Daytona, say goodbye to restrictor-plate racing. 

Sweeping changes to the chassis will result in a 200-base horsepower decrease on tracks longer than a mile, while races in Daytona and Talladega will drop the restrictor plates. A tapered spacer will be used instead of a restrictor plate and combined with giant air ducts, horsepower will be reduced by over 25 percent (to 550 from 750) while cutting the speed needed to ditch the plates.

These new rules will be in effect at 17 of the 36 races on the schedule. Five other events — Darlington’s Southern 500, the Atlanta race, both Pocono events and Homestead — will run a higher-speed package without the ducts. The other 14 events, held at either road courses or tracks one mile or less, will run, in essence, this year’s car.

NASCAR also announced a 25-percent reduction of in-season testing. Each organization gets just three on-track tests next year. Only three teams, not four, will be eligible for Goodyear tire tests.

Monster Energy has agreed to a one-year contract extension that will see the energy drink company continue as title sponsor of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In addition, Monster Energy will remain as the official energy drink of NASCAR. Beyond 2019, the future of title sponsorship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is unclear.

Ford announced that it is using the Ford Mustang in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2019. The Mustang body-style will replace the Fusion, which has been used in multiple generations since 2006. 

Despite a very successful history in motorsports, the Mustang has next to no history in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Ford Fusion was very successful, especially in 2018 where they won the manufactures title.

NASCAR announced new 2019 rule changes for the XFINITY Series as well. 

The maximum size of the XFINITY Series field will be reduced from 40 cars to 38 cars. The first 33 positions will be based on qualifying speed, the next four according to the NASCAR rulebook, and one past champion’s provisional. 

The NXS Dash 4 Cash will return at the same tracks – Bristol (April 6), Richmond (April 12), Talladega (April 27) and Dover (May 4). No Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be allowed in those races.