CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 22: XXXX speaks with the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway on January 22, 2009 at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

NASCAR taking the first step in changing the bodies of race cars

NASCAR officials announced the addition of the flange-fit composite body for the Xfinity Series.

Related: Former champion rips NASCAR's new limitations on Xfinity races

The bodies have 13 different panels attached on flanges, and team will have the option on whether to use them at Richmond Raceway, Phoenix Raceway, and Dover International Speedway this season.

Next season, the flange-fit bodies will be optional at all tracks except for superspeedways. NASCAR hopes the composite bodies will be mandatory by 2019.

NASCAR expects each team to have four bodies per car, and Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton called the development an "exciting time" for the series.

"The flange fit body is a significant advancement and will help maintain a level playing field and contain costs for our owners and our teams in the garage area, the cost and labor as compared to current steel body, and it's a whole lot easier for the teams to be able to repair these," Auton said.

NASCAR senior director of racing and development Brett Bodine said the change will be more efficient for teams in the Xfinity Series.

"From the very beginning, all the teams wanted to make sure that there was no chance that they would want to maybe run a steel body," Bodine said. "They wanted to go all in on the flange fit body right away, so that's why we're making sure that the competition adjustments between the two are accurate and enough to make you want to run a flange fit body."

Bodine also expects the change to save teams money. Teams will be able to experiment with the change next season to see how effective it will be, and NASCAR officials can decide whether to make the change permanent.

(h/t Motorsport)