NASCAR wasted no time in making some changes to limit the abundance of two-car tandems that dominated much of Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout.
Sprint Cup Series crews were issued technical bulletins on Sunday afternoon outlining changes to the size of the openings of the cars' front grills and the addition of a pressure relief valve to the water system.
Both are designed to help limit the amount of time cars would be able to "hook up" together before engine temperatures get dangerously high.
Jimmy Makar, vice president of racing operations for Joe Gibbs Racing, says the changes should decrease the distance drivers can maintain in the two-car tandems. There could still be additional changes prior to Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying races or even Sunday's Daytona 500 if needed, NASCAR officials said.
"Basically, they’re going to restrict the amount of air that’s going to flow through the radiator with a smaller opening in the grill so you’re going to get less cooling through your radiator,” Makar said. “That will tend to make your cars run hotter when you’re in the draft too long. It’s going to make you have to step out more often.
“The valve is going to keep you from being able to run a pressurized water system to where you don’t boil water as quickly. You’re not going to have the ability to run a lot hotter than 220 to 230ish. It will drop that number down a little bit as to how hot you can run the motor before you start pushing water out.”
Officials will continue to monitor speeds, which topped upwards of 206 mph by some drivers on Saturday night.