For the first time in a few years, there won’t be any major changes to NASCAR’s racing format. Stage racing will be the same, and nothing about the postseason format will change except for the location of some of the races.
Instead, NASCAR executives are preaching stability heading into the 2018 season. Gene Stefanyshyn, the NASCAR Senior Vice President for Innovation and Racing Development, said NASCAR executives are pleased with the level of racing on the track, so they are now going into “stabilization mode.”
The main change for the sport this season is a new high speed camera that will be focused on the driver. It is designed to allow officials to capture footage of drivers during wrecks to see if any injuries were sustained, according to Zack Albert of NASCAR.com.
“Other safety enhancements currently in development include a high-speed on-board camera designed to pair with Incident Data Recorders (IDR, or “black box”) to aid crash investigations,” Albert wrote. “When the data recorder is tripped by a crash impact, the camera will also engage, capturing footage of the driver’s movement in the accident and providing another reference point for competition officials.”
Stefanyshyn told Albert that the camera will be a powerful tool.
“This is going to be a very, very powerful tool,” Stefanyshyn said. “We have about 10 years of incident data recording. We have a very robust database that we use to continue to learn and improve. This will just be the next installment of analytical capability, which will allow us to be very precise and move very quickly.”
ESPN’s Bob Pockrass reported that the cameras will be required by each team in April.
Pockrass said the cameras are designed to “gather data and determine potential safety improvements.”
It might not be a major change along the lines of changing the points system, but it should certainly help for safety reasons, and it will give NASCAR a much closer look at drivers and cars during accidents.