NASCAR: Next Gen ready "to put on a good show" at Daytona

NASCAR liked what it saw in Tuesday’s Next Gen drafting test at Daytona and has settled on its superspeedway aero package for the 2022 season.

John Probst, NASCAR’s senior vice president of innovation and racing development, said NASCAR came to this week’s two-day test with two aero packages to test but the results from the first 10-lap drafting session made its decision an easy one.

The package utilized features 510 horsepower and a 7-inch spoiler and similar to what was run at a recent Goodyear tire test at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“When we released the test plan to the teams coming here, we had Package A group run, reevaluate, Package B group run, and those were more or less place holders from our standpoint,” Probst said.

“We told everyone we were shooting for a 48(second)-flat (lap time) to a 48.50 for that main group at the front and if we hit that, we would step back a little bit. Once we hit those numbers, we sent the message to the teams that we’re done, the track is yours.”

Although exact timing and scoring data was not immediately available, speeds in the drafting session averaged between 187 and 189 mph.

Package to be used at three tracks in 2022

Probst said NASCAR will utilize this package for both Daytona, both Talladega and both Atlanta races in the 2022 seasons.

Atlanta now falls into the ‘superspeedway’ category due to its recent repaving and reconfiguration which includes much higher banking. The track has changed from 24 degrees to 28 degrees while the racing surface has narrowed from 55-feet to 40-feet.

“From what we saw today, there was no trophy, no points, there was no money on the line, so I think the level of intensity when we come back (for the Daytona 500) will be ratcheted up significantly,” Probst said.

“If you look at what the cars did as far as spreading out and grouping back up, moving around, going three-wide a couple times, I feel like we’re in a really good spot to put on a good show.

“That doesn’t mean we’re done working, but we feel pretty good about today.”

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Probst said teams and NASCAR have made significant strides with the Next Gen car at Daytona since a multicar test conducted last September, in which several potential issues arose including the temperature inside the cockpit.

“If you look last time we were here, the cars were darting, the steering was really quick, drivers weren’t comfortable being close to each other, certainly not three-wide like we saw today,” he said.

“We had issues with driving cooling and steering and grabbed the best of the best in the garage and got with the vendor to figure out the best way to fix it. When we left the test here in 2021, we didn’t leave here feeling great. We felt OK.

“But getting the feedback from the drivers, we didn’t feel like if the race were held tomorrow, that we would put on the best show we could. Coming out the other side of it now, we’re pretty happy with what we saw today.”

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