The sanctioning body has provided some important information about the upcoming Cup Series season. NASCAR has released the rules package for the majority of 2022 races, confirming that there will be a horsepower difference on road courses and short tracks.
According to multiple media members, the Cup Series races at intermediate tracks will feature 550 horsepower packages with eight-inch spoilers. The races at short tracks and road courses will move from 750 horsepower to only 670 while the stock cars will feature a four-inch spoiler. This setup is the one that Cup Series teams are using during the October 11-12 Next Gen test at the Charlotte Roval. NASCAR has yet to announce the rules package for Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation John Probst told media members on Monday, October 11, that lap times at the Charlotte Roval were “more than a second faster” than those during the Bank of America Roval 400 playoff race. Per NBC Sports, he specifically mentioned the wider tire, better brakes, sequential shifter, and aerodynamics as the key factors in this improvement.
NASCAR Has Plans for Even More Next Gen Tests
While the two-day test at the Charlotte Roval is the biggest to date, it will not be the last time that the drivers put the Next Gen cars through their paces ahead of the 2022 season. NASCAR has multiple sessions planned for the future at a variety of tracks.
According to Jayski, the drivers will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on November 17-18 for sessions on the 1.5-mile oval. They will then head to Phoenix Raceway on December 14-15 for more tests. The fourth organizational test will take place on January 11-12 at Daytona International Speedway.
Probst added that there will be three organizational tests during the 2022 Cup Series season. Though the dates and locations are not solidified. One test will take place at Martinsville Speedway, likely after the April 9 race. The next will be at either Kansas Speedway or Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The third test could be at either a road course or a short track.
Additionally, NASCAR will hold a special dirt track test at the .5-mile banked Wythe Raceway in Virginia to help prepare for the Bristol dirt race. Per Bob Pockrass, Camping World Truck Series driver Stewart Friesen will take over the stock car for this test to prevent any Cup Series competitors from gaining any advantage.
Finally, Probst informed media members that the Next Gen car will head to Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., prior to the 2022 season. The sanctioning body will use the famed location to prepare for the first-ever Clash at the LA Coliseum, which will take place on February 6, 2022.
NASCAR Will Allow Teams To Shake Up Defining Elements
The horsepower change is not the only update that NASCAR provided during the Next Gen test at the Charlotte Roval. Josh Hamilton, the senior manager of innovation communications, also clarified on Twitter that teams will have the option to incorporate chrome numbers into their schemes. Though there will be some parameters that the teams have to meet.
NASCAR officials will have to approve the chrome numbers before the teams can head to the track. The reason is that the numbers will have to contrast well with the overall scheme and be visible.
Two teams provided some first glances at the chrome numbers. Austin Cindric drove the No. 21 Ford Mustang at the Charlotte Roval, a black stock car with chrome numbers. Trackhouse Racing also unveiled a special blue and black scheme that featured the team logo and the door numbers in chrome.