NASCAR Holding Tests for Road Courses & Short Track Package

Circuit of the Americas

Getty NASCAR drivers race at Circuit of the Americas.

NASCAR has made a point to address the action on road courses and short tracks ahead of the 2023 season. Now, these proposed changes will be put to the test.

According to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, there will be two separate types of tests ahead of the trip to Los Angeles for the Busch Light Clash. The first will be a two-day tire test at Circuit of the Americas the week of January 16. The current plan is to have Tyler Reddick (Toyota), Kyle Busch (Chevrolet), and Austin Cindric (Ford) on hand.

The second test will take place later in January. An estimated two cars per manufacturer will be at Phoenix Raceway as NASCAR examines the proposed changes to the aero package with the goal of addressing some competition concerns. Horsepower changes will not be part of the test.

NASCAR Has Spent Extensive Time Examining the Changes

AJ Allmendinger

GettyAJ Allmendinger races at Circuit of the Americas.

The future of road courses and short tracks became a prominent topic near the end of the 2022 Cup Series season. There were discussions about changes that could take place to address concerns at Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and all of the road courses on the schedule.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s Chief Operating Officer, addressed the topic during championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway. He explained that there has been an ongoing dialogue with drivers and that there is work being done collectively to make improvements for the 2023 season.

O’Donnell specifically mentioned the aero changes for both road courses and short tracks while also mentioning some things the sanctioning body has learned from the Garage 56 Chevrolet that Hendrick Motorsports built for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

There have been questions about these proposed changes throughout the offseason. There will potentially be some answers provided before the end of January as NASCAR holds two different tests to prepare for the 2023 season.

The Season Schedule Features an Early Short Track Race

Making some changes to the road course and short track package will be crucial for the second season of the Next Gen era, especially with the new cars excelling at intermediate tracks.

Will the proposed aero changes make a difference? The answer remains unclear, but there will be two main events that will provide some important data. The test at Phoenix Raceway will be the first while an exhibition event will be the second.

The Cup Series drivers will once again head to Los Angeles on February 4-5. They will take on the purpose-built track inside the LA Memorial Coliseum while battling only for bragging rights and a unique trophy.

The first Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum was a success. It provided considerable excitement, and it featured a final battle between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano as thousands of first-time attendees sat in the stands.

The 2023 Busch Light Clash will face greater scrutiny for multiple reasons. The ability to pass on short tracks will be one while fixing the safety concerns that surfaced in 2022 will be another.

The drivers will want to know that they can safely make moves throughout the race and avoid injury if they wreck. The proposed aero changes and the new rear bumper struts could play a major role in the weekend.


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