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Skirting the Issue: NASCAR Okay with Skirt Flares

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By Matt Weaver (TALLADEGA, Ala.) — NASCAR continues to monitor what teams are doing to the side skirts of their cars in the Sprint Cup Series but have not yet found anything that would warrant a penalty or changes to the rule book.

Flaring side-skirts have been a hot topic ever since the Chase began in September when a then-member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s road crew accused Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 team of cheating. Since then, several contenders have been seen with their side skirts flared out on the rear end.

But first-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck says this is a long-running standard and that the Sanctioning Body has no concerns with what they have uncovered in post-race technical inspection.

“It’s been going on for 20, 30 years pulling the fenders out and the aerodynamic tweaks that they do,” Buck said on Saturday morning. “I can tell you that we’re okay with where the side skirts are today. We have, however, made the side note that it could change next year.

Buck says the tolerance for the flare is born from the notion that the side skirt was designed to be bent due to the fact that it often touches the ground. As a result, as long at the body fits the template, the skirt flare is a non-issue.

“The side skirt itself is a disposable piece. That’s why it’s bolted on. It touches the ground — it hits the ground — and so, whether it’s designed to bend out or whatever, that piece is a disposable piece.”

Buck added that the garage is satisfied with how NASCAR has handled policing the flares thus far. He was also quick to point out that the rule is the same for everyone — big-budget and small teams alike.

“I will say the garage is comfortable with how we’re managing it right now,” Buck concluded. “It’s the same for everyone. That’s how we try to manage everything — that it’s the same for the big teams as it is for the little teams.”

Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.

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