The second day of Next Gen testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway took place on Friday, December 17, and featured some more sample races. The day also brought the revelation that NASCAR has set the horsepower numbers for the majority of the 2022 season.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s EVP and Chief Racing Development Officer, met with members of the media on December 17 and revealed that the majority of races will feature the 670-horsepower package instead of the 550-horsepower package that the sanctioning body had previously focused on for intermediate tracks. He explained that the potential addition of new OEMs played a role in the push for 550, but he clarified that 670-horsepower is still within the range to attract these other manufacturers.
“I would say that we are, more than likely, going with that number across all of our tracks,” O’Donnell said during his media session, quote courtesy of NASCAR Media. “We’ve still got a few boxes to check post-test here where we get together with our OEs and the teams and just confirm that’s the direction we want to go with, but everything we’ve seen so far tells us that’s the horsepower we want to target and go with.”
O’Donnell Clarified That 3 Tracks Will Have Different Horsepower
Like seasons in the past, the first year with the Next Gen cars will feature different packages for certain tracks. The intermediates, short tracks, and road courses will all have the 670-horsepower package, but there will be three others that utilize a different number.
O’Donnell clarified that Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway will have a different target number. He did not reveal what this number will be, but the 2021 season featured 550-horsepower packages at Daytona and Talladega and certain other tracks. The list of examples includes Michigan International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The reason for the change is that the layout at Daytona and Talladega would lead to faster cars with higher horsepower numbers. The same will apply at Atlanta after the repave resulted in steeper banking on the turns and an emphasis on pack racing.
NASCAR took steps later in the 2021 season to slow the cars down at superspeedways after Joey Logano’s No. 22 flipped in the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25. The Team Penske driver made strong comments about the style of racing at the longer tracks and how it adds danger. NASCAR responded by mandating a smaller tapered spacer and reducing the horsepower to 450.
Teams Will Test Out Daytona Before the Season
NASCAR has yet to reveal the horsepower numbers for the superspeedway races, but the sanctioning body will provide that information in the coming weeks. However, the teams will first head to Daytona International Speedway for another Next Gen test.
The stock cars will hit the superspeedway on January 11-12 in a test that will be open to the public. The fans can head to the World Center of Racing and watch some of their favorite drivers log laps and generate more data before the season officially begins. NASCAR previously held a drafting test at Daytona on September 7, but the upcoming test will be another major step toward the start of the season.
This data will be crucial considering that the season starts with the Daytona 500. The Crown Jewel race will be the first points-paying race featuring the Next Gen car, and NASCAR will want every detail solidified.