8 Cup Series Teams Testing Next Gen Cars at Daytona


Getty NASCAR unveils its three new Next Gen stock cars.

NASCAR continues to plan for the future of stock car racing. The sanctioning body has set a date for its largest Next Gen test, which will take place on Sept. 7-8 at Daytona International Speedway. The test sessions will feature eight Cup Series teams and three vehicle manufacturers to provide a wide variety of feedback.

According to a press release from Goodyear Tires, the involved drivers will be Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing), Joey Logano (Team Penske), Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), Chris Buescher (Roush Fenway Racing), William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports), Cole Custer (Stewart-Haas Racing), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daugherty Racing), and Ross Chastain (Chip Ganassi Racing).

According to Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass, the two-day test will remain closed to the media and public. He noted that some of the Next Gen tests are open to the public, but tire tests are held privately in case the Goodyear setups are not initially right.

Drivers Search for Different Information During Tests

Pockrass spoke to multiple drivers that will participate in the tests and asked them what they will try to learn during the two-day session. For Logano, he will try to figure out what the visibility is as he makes laps around the track. He also wants to learn how the draft works as the drivers push each other around the race track.

“For myself, personally, it’s understanding how the air moves around those cars before the Daytona 500,” Hamlin added. “You want to be the first winner with the Next Gen car. I think that I would like to get a feel for the heat. From what I’ve heard, those cars are extremely hot from the inside. Some of the drivers are already having heat issues in the current car that we have.”

Some of this information is important to Hamlin as a driver, but it is even more so due to his role as a team co-owner. He has to know how his two 23XI Racing drivers — Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace — will react to the heat inside the Next Gen car during the grueling 36-race schedule. Wallace has passed out multiple times after races in his Cup Series career due to the heat, and Hamlin will work with NASCAR to prevent similar situations in the future.

Buescher Has Next Gen Experience at Daytona

While this two-day session will be the largest conducted by NASCAR and Goodyear, it will only continue the streak of tests. For Buescher, this latest example will also serve as his return to the 2.5-mile superspeedway in a Next Gen car.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver previously headed to the World Center of Racing in mid-December 2020 for a very early oval test with the new stock cars. He experienced some early limitations while adjusting to the sequential shifter, which will be standard in all of the Next Gen cars, but he also learned that the drivers will have better control as they head down pit road.

“For starters, the speed, we went through a lot of different changes to try to dial in what we know and get closer on what we don’t know,” Buescher said after his first test, per “Jayski.” “To try to have a competitive race and still do it within a reasonable speed. Just worked through a couple little nuance things that are just a lot different, and honestly it’s a little bit of just mind over matter as far as shifting, trying to make sure you keep pulling backwards for the sequential stuff, which was really neat. I really enjoyed using it and got better as it went, learning what it can and can’t do there by the end.

“The brakes are terrific and I know this isn’t even a short-track set-up, but they stop extremely well,” Buescher continued. “There’s not going to be any issues getting to pit road and not having the stopping power, just going to be a matter of not spinning out.”

Nearly one year after his first test, Buescher will return to Daytona International Speedway for another run. He and his fellow Cup Series drivers will take on the 2.5-mile track together while learning even more about their future stock cars.

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