NASCAR Draft Kit: What's New for 2018

NASCAR Draft Kit: What's New for 2018

This article is part of our NASCAR Draft Kit series.

Before we can fill out our cheat sheets or prepare our draft strategies for the upcoming 2018 NASCAR season, there are many changes that we need to take into account in order to be prepared for any fantasy racing league. We're going to take an in-depth look at some of these changes that we'll see and some that aren't so apparent when the engines fire up at Daytona in February.

Driver Changes

Thanks to the usual silly season movement and free agent driver signings, we have several different drivers that have moved to new teams in 2018. There are a handful of teams that are shutting down and some that are starting new. There are a few teams that have merged or contracted in order to stay competitive. Also, a handful of driver/team swaps have taken place; among the most notable are the Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Aric Almirola moves, and the multiple retirements/William Byron and Darrell Wallace Jr. promotions.

DRIVERNEW TEAMOLD TEAM
Chase ElliottNo. 9 Hendrick MotorsportsNo. 24 Hendrick Motorsports
Aric AlmirolaNo. 10 Stewart Haas RacingNo. 43 Richard Petty Motorsport
Ryan BlaneyNo. 12 Team Penske No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing
Erik JonesNo. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing No. 77 Furniture Row Racing
Paul MenardNo. 21 Wood Brothers RacingNo. 27 Richard Childress Racing
William ByronNo. 24 Hendrick MotorsportsNo. 9 Xfinity Series
Brennan PooleNo.27 Richard Childress RacingNo. 48 Xfinity Series
Michael McDowellNo.34 Front Row MotorsportsNo.
Before we can fill out our cheat sheets or prepare our draft strategies for the upcoming 2018 NASCAR season, there are many changes that we need to take into account in order to be prepared for any fantasy racing league. We're going to take an in-depth look at some of these changes that we'll see and some that aren't so apparent when the engines fire up at Daytona in February.

Driver Changes

Thanks to the usual silly season movement and free agent driver signings, we have several different drivers that have moved to new teams in 2018. There are a handful of teams that are shutting down and some that are starting new. There are a few teams that have merged or contracted in order to stay competitive. Also, a handful of driver/team swaps have taken place; among the most notable are the Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Aric Almirola moves, and the multiple retirements/William Byron and Darrell Wallace Jr. promotions.

DRIVERNEW TEAMOLD TEAM
Chase ElliottNo. 9 Hendrick MotorsportsNo. 24 Hendrick Motorsports
Aric AlmirolaNo. 10 Stewart Haas RacingNo. 43 Richard Petty Motorsport
Ryan BlaneyNo. 12 Team Penske No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing
Erik JonesNo. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing No. 77 Furniture Row Racing
Paul MenardNo. 21 Wood Brothers RacingNo. 27 Richard Childress Racing
William ByronNo. 24 Hendrick MotorsportsNo. 9 Xfinity Series
Brennan PooleNo.27 Richard Childress RacingNo. 48 Xfinity Series
Michael McDowellNo.34 Front Row MotorsportsNo. 95 Leavine Family Racing
Bubba WallaceNo.43 Richard Petty MotorsportsNo.6 Xfinity Series
Ray Black Jr. No. 51 Rick Ware Racing No. 07 Xfinity Series
Alex BowmanNo. 88 Hendrick MotorsportsNone
Kasey KahneNo. 95 Leavine Family RacingNo. 5 Hendrick Motorsports

Technical Rule Package

Use of a common flat splitter and radiator/oil cooler for aerodynamic purposes. The radiator/oil cooler is already used at superspeedways; the common splitter is new.

Elimination of the ride height rule at superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) for increased safety.

Use of a sealed short-block engine for a minimum of 13 races; use of a long-block engine in the Clash and All-Star Race; and a single-engine rule for all races.



There are also some changes to the rules package, but most are about keeping current momentum and trends in place. The aerodynamic change will give the teams a bit of a challenge and something to adjust to, but it's not a complete rules overhaul. We'll see some competition differences, but nothing we'd consider radical by any means.

Chevrolet Switching from Impala SS to Camaro ZL1

The SS won 72 races – and two championships – since debuting at Daytona speedweeks in 2013, leading Generation-6 cars. Despite the successful six-year run, it became clear that GM needed to keep moving technology forward as Toyota and Ford had caught up to the bowtie brand in recent seasons. The new Camaro ZL1 will debut this season. Chevrolet has used the Camaro in the Xfinity Series for a few seasons now, and is comfortable with the move up to NASCAR's top division. It will be interesting to see right away at Daytona if the new car has an aerodynamic edge over the competition.

Track Pit Crew Rosters

Standardized at-track team rosters, reducing the number of crew members who go over the wall for pit stops from six to five.

At-track rosters will fall under three headings: Organizational, Road Crew and Pit Crew and crew members will be assigned letters or numbers worn on their uniforms and on armbands to identify their duties.

This is one of the measures NASCAR considered to help teams save money. It will force teams to change how they structure and execute their pit stops, and some of the bumps and hiccups of this restructuring could show up in the early races of the schedule until teams go through the adjustment period.

Charlotte Motor Speedway to run Road Course

This year's Bank of America 500 will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway's ROVAL For years, fans have desired to see a road course event added to the 10-race Chase that crowns the champion. In 2018 they'll get their wish. Charlotte Motor Speedway has devised a 13-turn circuit using most of the oval and major portions of the infield to create a challenging 2.4-mile course. The event will be raced in September and be the final event in Round 1 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. It will be the first road course event in the 14-year history of the Chase, and the first-ever road course event in Charlotte's 58-year history. The drivers will race 500 kilometers, more than 130 laps on the road course circuit.

Schedule Changes

The Advance Auto Parts Clash on Feb. 11 and two Daytona 500 qualifying races on Feb. 15 will take place before the season officially gets underway.

The Daytona 500 returns to its traditional Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 18.

Richmond's spring race returns to Saturday night, and the spring triple-header at Dover moves to the first week in May.

The NASCAR Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is May 19.

The final regular-season race is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway will play host to the first playoff race.

Richmond International Raceway will play host to the second playoff race, adding a second short track to the playoff schedule.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway road course will serve as the first cutoff of the Round of 16.

Dover International Speedway will play host to the first race of the Round of 12.

NASCAR has really revamped things in 2018 with several changes, mainly focused on shaking up the Chase for the Cup. The 10-race playoff schedule has remained mostly unchanged for the last several seasons, but NASCAR has added new tracks, new dates and even a road course event to the lineup. The shakeup should help the sport get out of the predictable schedule rut that has formed recently. The new races and new tracks should go a long way to reviving interest in the 10-race playoff.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Taylor
Taylor is RotoWire's senior NASCAR writer. A nine-time FSWA finalist, Taylor was named the Racing Writer of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2017. He is also a military historian, focused specifically on World War II and the U.S. Navy's efforts in the Pacific.
NASCAR Barometer: Joey Logano Dominates to Claim Second All-Star Win
NASCAR Barometer: Joey Logano Dominates to Claim Second All-Star Win
NASCAR DFS: NASCAR All-Star Race
NASCAR DFS: NASCAR All-Star Race
NASCAR DFS Trucks: Wright Brand 250
NASCAR DFS Trucks: Wright Brand 250
NASCAR All-Star Race Preview: Old School All-Star Race
NASCAR All-Star Race Preview: Old School All-Star Race