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NASCAR to test 2024 short track package at New Hampshire

NASCAR plans to test some potential 2024 short-track aero packages in a two-day test following this weekend’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

In its efforts to continue to improve the quality of the racing of the Next Gen car on shorter tracks and road courses, NASCAR will test some new aero packages created around a newly designed splitter.

Six drivers – Christopher Bell, Harrison Burton, William Byron, Justin Haley, Ryan Preece and Erik Jones – will take part in the test Monday and Tuesday. Goodyear Tire officials will also be on hand.

“Our short-track package, we’ve had some good races, but it’s probably not to the level that we as a sanctioning body and our fans have expected over time,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

“So, our aero guys over here at the R&D Center, Dr. Eric Jacuzzi and his team, they’ve done some great work in the wind tunnel and they were in the wind tunnel again (Monday) just to make sure what they believe is going to be a really good package that we’re going to test at New Hampshire will lead us in a direction that will give us some really great short track racing.”

A lengthy process

The information gathered from next week’s test is for use in the 2024 season and even if promising, will likely be further tested on the track in the offseason.

Following an offseason test in January at Phoenix, NASCAR made an initial change to its short track and road course aero package which included a two-inch rear spoiler in addition to several tweaks to the underbody of the car.

However, short track races this season at Richmond, Va., and Martinsville, Va., didn’t see a lot of improvement over 2022.

Sawyer said the packages set to be tested next week are centered around the car’s front splitter with Goodyear on hand to study more potential tire construction and compound changes.

“The underbody of this car is very – the downforce that’s made is made in the underbody of the car where in years past most of it was made with air going over top of (the car),” Sawyer said.

“It’s a collaboration between the car and the tire to get us to a point where the racing is what we’ve expected over time. We’ll continue to work on it until we get it right.”

Bell, who drives the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, said he believes the goal of next week’s test is to get the cars to drive better in traffic.

“We took a huge step in downforce reduction at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I was one that was for it and now after looking at several races I don’t know that it’s made a huge difference.

“I was really positive about it at the time, but I don’t think it’s made a huge difference, so I don’t know what’s in store for Monday.”

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