NASCAR completes two-day test of Next Gen Car in Daytona, with mostly positive reviews from drivers

The introduction of a new NASCAR Cup Series car has gone from a concept in the distant future to a reality in the imminent future. And as such, the process of testing and fine-tuning the NASCAR Next Gen car has intensified as the start of the Cup Series’ all-new car concept draws ever closer.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, eight drivers and teams tested the Next Gen car at Daytona International Speedway, completing the car’s first major multi-car test at Superspeedway. Test participants included Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), Chris Bucher (Roush Fenway Racing), Joey Logano (Team Penske), William Byrne (Hendrick Motorsports), Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing), Ross Chastain (Chip Ganassi). racing) were involved. ), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daughterty Racing).

The primary objective of the test was to develop a suitable tire for NASCAR with Goodyear and ensure that speeds were within NASCAR’s goal in both single-car and multi-car runs. By the latter end, NASCAR made overnight changes to the engine’s tapered spacers and the car’s spoiler, making both smaller to achieve the desired reduction in speed.

Reviews from the drivers were generally positive, with the ability to pull and maneuver in drafts and work the heat within the cockpit were the two sticking points. A new rearview camera was also mentioned as a positive.

“All of us drove really well and felt comfortable. Just trying to figure out how we’re going to be racing better,” Steinhouse said. “Making sure we could get close, get good runs, have good racing. I was really happy, I thought we all got out there and worked the lanes, down, up, Good job pushing each other. Really tried to simulate as much as we could in a real race and everyone did a good job of it.”

“Handling-wise, learning some stuff, still working on the steering, it’s a little fast. But overall, I think it was a great test,” Dillon said. “We didn’t ruin any of these cars, which is good. We learned a lot.”

With six months left before next February’s Daytona 500, this week’s test is one of several steps NASCAR is taking to ensure the Next Gen car starts off smoothly and produces a compelling race. John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing innovation, said another Daytona test on a much larger scale is coming up during the winter.

“We’ll probably be back here in January and do another test with more teams, (Daytona) is an important track for us to get right,” Probst said. “We’ll probably have a good number of teams, probably 26 or more.”

While the launch of the next gen car was pushed back by a full year due to COVID-related issues, some concrete progress has already been made in the inner workings of the car and its driveability compared to the current generation of the cup car was introduced for the first time. Has been. 2013. Chris Buscher, who ran the single-car Next Gen test at Daytona last December, highlighted the car’s steering as the biggest area of ‚Äč‚Äčimprovement.

“That part is a lot better. To the point where it’s a lot more predictable, a lot more driveable,” Buscher said. “The steering is faster than anything I’ve driven, so we’re doing our best to slow it down as much as possible. I think we’ve run out of adjustments, unfortunately, so It’s faster than I liked. But we’ll work out ways to overcome it, I don’t know if anything.

“At least now the steering is predictable, looks like you’d expect it and a little more like our current car.”

The two-day test of the Next Gen Car also gave a glimpse into the future of Cup Cars aesthetically: while some teams wrapped their cars with their current paint schemes, others designed their cars according to NASCAR’s new The Kia number placement, which in 2022 will see the number of each car moving from the doors to the front wheels.

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