NASCAR Drivers Rave About 2022 Package Changes

Next Gen

Getty NASCAR Next Gen cars will have higher horsepower engines in 2022.

NASCAR has announced a significant change for the 2022 Cup Series season. The sanctioning body has confirmed that the majority of tracks will feature a high-horsepower, low-downforce package, something that the drivers and crew chiefs have raved about.

NASCAR confirmed on December 21 that the majority of tracks will have 670 horsepower and four-inch spoilers. The exceptions are Daytona and Talladega. NASCAR will make a decision about Atlanta after a tire test in January. This news created considerable excitement as Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and many others raved about the decision. Even Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar weighed in and asked “who knew” that the 670-horsepower package would be in stockings for Christmas.

“Lets go, this package was really tough but really fun to race with at the test!!” Stenhouse tweeted after the news surfaced on Tuesday. Byron joined in and said that the news was “awesome” while Live Fast owner Matt Tifft said that the move puts the racing back in the hands of the drivers.

NASCAR Explained the Decision To Go With Low Downforce

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, told members of the media on December 17 that the sanctioning body had shifted its target for the upcoming season. The original goal was 550 horsepower at the majority of the tracks, but the two-day test at Charlotte Motor Speedway completely changed the conversation.

O’Donnell released a statement on December 21 and provided further explanation for the decision. He explained that the move to high-horsepower and low-downforce packages will lead to intense competition while putting the control back in the hands of the drivers.

“After hours of wind tunnel and on-track testing, as well as feedback from drivers and the larger industry, NASCAR will move to higher horsepower, lower downforce for each of its non-superspeedway NASCAR Cup Series events,” O’Donnell said in a statement.

“We believe the setup featuring the 670hp engine and 4-inch spoiler will lead to strong, intense competition and put the racing squarely in the hands of the best drivers in the world. That was the goal we set for the industry as we developed the Next Gen car. We are confident in the direction we’re headed and very much look forward to the racing in 2022 and beyond.”

A Championship-Winning Crew Chief Discussed the Process

When NASCAR announced the new horsepower packages for the 2022 season, several drivers weighed in with their excitement. A multitude of fans also expressed a similar sentiment. Rodney Childers, the championship-winning crew chief on Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 team, simply talked about the amount of effort involved.

These last few weeks haven’t been easy on anyone.. The officials, owners, teams, drivers, team members,” Childers tweeted on December 21. “But I’ve also really appreciated the amount of collaboration between everyone involved. Is everything going to be perfect this year,, no it never is.. But we all can sure try.”

To Childers’ point, the move to 670 horsepower and low downforce does not immediately mean that every race will become more exciting than those from the 2021 season. This will continue to be a work in progress as teams make adjustments each week while fighting for wins. Though the excitement level among drivers creates considerable optimism for the first season featuring Next Gen cars.

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