October 12th was the last day of the next-gen tests at the Charlotte Roval, in which 21 production vehicles took part. There were some important insights from the two-day session, but several NASCAR drivers raved about the handling on the street courses and the “fun factor”.
Several drivers commented on the next generation cars during testing in Charlotte Roval from October 11-12. Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman said to Kelly Crandall from Racer and other media outlets that the car is “a lot of fun to drive” and that it still behaves like a racing car. Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick added that the next generation car is “more fun to drive” than the current version.
Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang, met with media representatives on Tuesday, October 12th. Per Alex Andrejev from the Charlotte Observer, he explained that the braking potential was “huge” and that there were fewer wheel jumps when entering corners. In addition, Blaney discussed how the wider tires and independent suspension give drivers more opportunities to push the production vehicles.
William Byron, the driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ number 24 Chevrolet Camaro, mentioned the handling during his media session on October 12th. He told reporters that the next-gen car behaves more like a go-kart and that it turns nimbly into corners. Byron added that the new setup suits his driving style.
In the 2021 season, several drivers secured their first career victories. Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 at the season opener on February 14th, while Christopher Bell took the checkered flag on the Daytona Road Course on February 21st 4.
According to several drivers, the next-gen cars should open the doors to even more first-time winners. Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie tweeted after the first day of testing that the smaller teams have a “MUCH greater chance of being competitive” than he had previously expected. Team Penske’s Joey Logano echoed this point of view as he discussed how strategy and execution will play a bigger role in 2022 and beyond.
“It will definitely change everything” Logano said on the NASCAR YouTube broadcast. “The field itself will probably get closer and closer together as we do laps because all the cars are pretty similar. … We’ll all have a pretty similar starting point – of course, the bodies and engines will be different – but for the most part the parts and parts are the same.
“This will of course make the cars closer to speed, so it depends on the details. Pit Road is becoming more important, reboots are becoming more important, the little things that help cars overtake efficiently. These things will make all the difference. “
While several drivers raved about how fun the next-gen car is, they also mentioned two main topics that will be the focus for NASCAR through the 2022 season. The heat, which is an existing problem, and some steering issues that impacted a wide variety of drivers.
Reddick, Bowman, Blaney, Logano, LaJoie, and Byron all mentioned control issues on social media and meeting media members. They stated that the handling on the road was fantastic until the steering problems surfaced. At this point the stockcars became very difficult to handle.
Pro FOX sports reporter Bob Pockrass, LaJoie said he was one of the drivers struggling with poor vibration while navigating the Charlotte Roval. The # 7 driver said the team had already replaced parts twice. NASCAR also revealed that some drivers had to do with unscrewing the screws.
NASCAR experimented with several possible solutions to combat the heat issues during the two-day next-gen test. Some cars had air vents in the bumper area, while others had air ducts in the windshield and slots in the rear window.
Reddick told media representatives that he actually felt cold early in the day when he drove the car with the vents in the windows. He added that these openings could be a “great solution” for the races that generate a lot of heat in the stock cars. Per pock breedReddick said no debris entered through the openings, which would become a major problem if NASCAR incorporated the cooling option.
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