NASCAR and its teams have been hard at work on nailing down the final details for the 2022 season, with much of the focus remaining on the Next Gen race car, and the plans for its on-track performance.
One major component to the on-track package of the Next Gen car was confirmed on Tuesday as NASCAR announced that the Next Gen car will feature a 670 horsepower, 4-inch spoiler pairing for intermediate tracks next season.
“It’s been a two-year process,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “So certainly, it came down to Friday, but that was really through all the work, the thousands of hours of on-track testing and the collaboration with the industry and continued tests to really narrow down what could be the final rules package for the Next Gen car. Friday, we were able to solidify that. We met with the industry, a number of drivers post-test on Friday with the packages we had narrowed down and really hit on what we all thought would be a great Next Gen car in terms of going out under one rules package with 670 horsepower and then a low-downforce 4-inch spoiler, which we believe we can implement across all of our tracks outside of superspeedway.”
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NASCAR and multiple organizations spent two days at Charlotte last week testing various aerodynamic and engine packages with the sport taking one day in between to diagnose glaring issues, and take feedback on the next steps.
“It’s really a new beginning for everyone, right?” O’Donnell said. “So no one has a ton of data they can go back and look at for this car where we previously raced, and that’s a neat thing for the race fan. So they’re going to see the best drivers and the best engineers in the world go out there and attack this car and attack each race track, and it will be hard to drive. I think the drivers are enthusiastic about that. The tire that Goodyear has come with has really put strategy back into a race, so some of that old-school racing that a lot of fans have talked about, I think you’ll see. We’ll learn along the way as well, and there are different things we can take away from this season coming up in ’22 as we look to continually improve upon what we believe is going to be a great launch of the Next Gen car.
“So the bottom line of all this, and you’ll hear this from the drivers is that this package with the Next Gen car puts it back in the drivers’ hands and we’re excited about what that will do in 2022, for sure.”
As for the superspeedway package, which will include Atlanta Motor Speedway thanks to its new configuration, will be shared next month.
“Yeah, we’re close,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve done a number of tests already but our next step in the process for superspeedways will be in Atlanta, early January to confirm what package we want to put on that race track. We expect that to be the superspeedway package. Then from there, we’ll go to Daytona on the 11th and 12th of January, and really what we’re looking at there is the speed of the car. So there’s potential we could shorten the spoiler a little bit. We’ve made some cooling adjustments to the car that affected a little bit of the drag of this car, so we want to make sure that the speeds are commensurate with where we’ve run in the past. So getting some extra laps on the car, both days getting the teams more familiar with the car at the Daytona and then we’ll finalize it coming out of that test.”