Fontana test of Next Gen car includes its first wreck

While damaging a new prototype car during a test may not be optimal, it’s still a learning experience for NASCAR.

Fontana test of Next Gen car includes its first wreck
Listen to this article

William Byron completed a two-day test Tuesday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., of the newest prototype of the Next Generation car, which will debut in 2021 in the Cup Series.

Unfortunately, his more than 300 miles of testing runs included a run-in with the wall off Turn 2. The 2-mile track is the largest yet to be used during the new car’s testing process.

“We were probably six or seven laps into a 25-lap tire run. I had been a little free for a couple of corners, but nothing major. That time, I just got loose and figured I’d be able to save it but wasn’t able to,” Byron said of the incident.

“It just came all the way around. I had a number of similar moments in the race Sunday and was able to drive out of it. That’s what caught me off guard the most. It’s part of testing, though, learning where the line is with what the car can do.”

Read Also:

John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing innovation, the incident is just as valuable as the track data from running laps.

“This is exactly why we test. We were able to put almost 300 miles on the car the past two days and captured some valuable data. Because of the nature of a test, we have a lot more data available than during a normal race weekend, including the IDR (incident data recorder) and high-speed camera,” he said.

“We’ll take the car back to North Carolina and evaluate it. This gives us a good opportunity to make sure the car holds up as expected during an incident.”

Byron said the car was difficult to adjust at first, but by Tuesday was getting a good feel for it.

“The tire doesn’t have the same sidewall, so there is not the same amount of slip that you can hang the car out,” he said. “You just have to get used to that timing and rhythm of when the car does step out, how quickly can you catch it when it slides the front tires, how quickly does it come back.

“All those things are a lot different from what we do now. It takes some adjustment to learn that. The sequential shifting was really cool. I’ve done that before when I first started racing but haven’t had it since.

“I think it will be better for us on restarts to focus on moves and not have to worry so much about shifting. And on road courses, you’re going to be able to be a lot more aggressive in your downshifts. That’s going to be a lot of fun.”

From the crew chief's perspective

Byron’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, said there is a “major difference” on the types of adjustments crews will be able to make on the new car during races.

“What and when we can change things is going to be significantly different. What you would change at the track might change from what we’re doing now – you’re going to have different knobs to turn,” he said.

“The thing that’s exciting about it is it’s a brand-new entity, so we’re always going to be learning new things about it and finding out what matters the most. It’s still a race car, and we’re still going to be able to work on it.”

shares
comments
Following Fontana, Toyota drivers have a need for (more) speed
Previous article

Following Fontana, Toyota drivers have a need for (more) speed

Next article

Tony Stewart to return to NASCAR racing at Indianapolis

Tony Stewart to return to NASCAR racing at Indianapolis
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021