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THINGS TO WATCH IN THE OFFSEASON

THINGS TO WATCH IN THE OFFSEASON

1. Rule changes

Sprint Cup drivers will be racing different stock cars in 2016. They will look the same on the outside, but the sanctioning body plans to reduce the downforce of these cars and make them harder to handle. Drivers who like to slide around in cars, such as Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson, will have a definite advantage. The rules package will affect races at 1.5- and 2-mile ovals. This could be interesting.

2. Surprise, surprise

Actually, don’t be surprised to see a wholesale shuffle of team talent during the offseason. There could be some big crew-chief changes announced in the coming weeks. Any top-tier driver who didn’t make the Chase could have a new guy on the pit box in 2016. Take Richard Childress Racing, for example. That three-car team hasn’t won in two seasons. Crew chiefs are like football coaches. They come and go.

3. Any complaints?

Nobody brought it up at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but you have to wonder if some drivers were put off by Kyle Busch capturing the championship on 25 starts.

The other three drivers he battled for the crown made all 36 starts. NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France gave Busch an exemption because Busch was injured. Will these exceptions to the rule become the norm?

Why is this man smiling? Maybe because Carl Edwards likes the new rules package that will be used in NASCAR Cup Series racing in 2016. JEFF ZELEVANSKY/GETTY IMAGES

— Godwin Kelly, [email protected]

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