DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The flange-fit composite body, which has seen remarkable success since its incorporation into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and ARCA Racing Series, will be available for NASCAR XFINITY Series teams to utilize in three races later this season.
The move is designed as the first step towards incorporating flange-fit bodies into mandatory, full-time use for the XFINITY Series by 2019.
Wednesday afternoon’s announcement was made via teleconference with XFINITY Series director Wayne Auton and NASCAR Senior Director of Research and Development Brett Bodine.
The flange-fit composite bodies will be eligible for competition this season at Richmond Int’l Raceway on Sept. 8, Dover Int’l Speedway on Sept. 30 and Phoenix Int’l Raceway on Nov. 11.
They are then expected to be optional at all tracks for the 2018 season, with the exception of the superspeedways at Daytona and Talladega.
Auton said during the teleconference that NASCAR will match the cars with weight and aero, to make sure that both the steel bodies and composite bodies) are “as equal on the race track as possible” during the races in which both options are eligible.
Switching from the long-tenured steel bodies over to the composite bodies is meant to be a labor-savings for teams, as the composite bodies are bolted onto the chassis via bracing as opposed to welded onto the frame, which the steel bodies are currently.
“The flange-fit body is a significant advancement and will help maintain a level playing field, as well as contain costs for our owners and teams, within the garage area,” said Auton. “The new bodies will significantly reduce costs and labor as compared to the current steel body, and is much easier for the teams to repair. If you get into a wall, you basically have the opportunity to roll back into the garage area and put a new body onto the car.”
“This marks an exciting time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the development of the flange-fit composite bodies has been a collaborative effort between NASCAR, the team owners, crew members and OEMs. We can’t wait to get to Richmond and put the new bodies onto the race track for the first time.”
The bodies are composed of 13 separate panels, attaching together on flanges and made of a composite laminate blend. Five Star RaceCar Bodies will supply the various body parts, with the exception of the hood, upper nose and fenders.
Those select pieces will continue to be supplied by Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, depending on a team’s manufacturer alliance.
“We’ve utilized input from the industry in virtually every way, including the timing of the rollout, as well as the rules governing the new bodies,” added Bodine. “We had a very strong team technical group that we worked with, along with the entire XFINITY Series garage area, to make all of this happen … with unprecedented communication that took place along the way.”
“It’s been a long process to get to this point, but we’re excited to introduce it and looking forward to seeing what it can do in competition.”
The current templates will continue to be used in the inspection process. Markings on the outside of the car and a laser system will be used, starting at Richmond, to ensure the body is square to the frame.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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