By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on August 9, 2017 | 4:45 P.M. EST
Teams will have the option of using the new style of body at Richmond, Dover and Phoenix this season.
NASCAR will introduce a new flange fit composite body style to the XFINITY Series in three races this season.
Teams will have the option of using the new style of body at Richmond, Dover and Phoenix this season with a full roll-out planned for the 2019 season.
“We’re also excited to announce that starting in 2018, it will be an option at all tracks except superspeedways,” said Wayne Auton, XFINITY Series director. “We’re still finalizing the plans for those tracks. Our goal is to have it mandatory across the board starting in 2019. As I said, this is an exciting time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. I know there’s been a lot of talk out there about this finally getting on the racetrack, and we’re excited and can’t wait to get to Richmond.”
It’s expected 90 percent of the current XFINITY Series field will switch to the body for the September Richmond race.
The decision is a departure from the current steel bodies used in the series and is designed as a cost cutting move. The composite body is bolted via bracing onto the chassis and can be removed and replaced much easier than the current steel body, which is welded to the chassis.
“The efficiencies of using a composite flange fit body really are across the board from potentially needing less chassis to do the XFINITY Series because of the turnaround time on repairs, to the actual amount of time it takes to hang a complete new body on a chassis,” said Brett Bodine, NASCAR senior director of R&D.
“The repairs most likely can be done by the team instead of potentially having to farm it out to a body hanger that they do business with now with the steel bodies. There’s a lot of areas that this cost savings of this type body will provide for the team owners.”
While the repairs teams make should be easier with the composite body style, the in-race rules introduced this year will remain the same.
“Once the green flag falls for the race, the damaged vehicle policy has not changed,” Auton explained. “You cannot come in and add new parts to the car. You can try and fix on the car with tape just like we do current day. But during practice is where I was referring to that if you get in the wall as long as you don’t get into the frame or suspension, you can basically have a brand new car ready to go back out for qualifying or for practice, but during the race, the damaged vehicle policy stays the same as it is in current day.”
The K&N Pro Series has used the composite body for the last two seasons.
The various body parts will be supplied by Five Star RaceCar bodies with current manufacturers Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota supplying the hood, upper nose and fenders.
“The development of the flange fit composite body has been a collaborative effort between NASCAR, our team owners, our team crews, and our OEM partners,” Auton said.
“Our goal is to have it mandatory across the board starting in 2019. As I said, this is an exciting time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. I know there’s been a lot of talk out there about this finally getting on the racetrack, and we’re excited and can’t wait to get to Richmond.”