NASCAR concludes Next Gen testing with two-day session at Phoenix Raceway

Unlike the past few years, where the off-season has meant nearly three full months of driver downtime and stock car silence, NASCAR’s drivers and race teams have barely had time to rest since the end of the 2021 season. heading into 2022 has seen a steady stream of track time as NASCAR prepares to launch its Next Gen Cup car, with a winter testing program coming to an end just before the first-ever race of the Next Gen car.

NASCAR teams took part in a two-day testing session at Phoenix Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday, marking the final organizational testing session of the Next Gen car before its debut in next week’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum. With the rules package for the Next Gen car already in place and major tests at both Charlotte Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway out of the way, Phoenix’s testing session was described as a final “sanity check” for NASCAR officials as drivers process the continue wrestling with the unknowns of the car.

“We may have some general ideas, but nothing concrete until we get to racing,” Joey Logano said in a report by Terrin Waack of “So, when you say comfortable, I’m far from comfortable. There’s nothing I’m sure will come my way.”

Drivers took the opportunity to push the Next Gen car to its limits, as evidenced by some of the track action during testing: Kyle Busch spun himself on one occasion and Chase Elliott spun his car twice. While neither driver hit anything, rookie Todd Gilliland wasn’t so lucky as his Front Row Motorsports Ford crashed into the wall of Turn 2 after a spin.

Defending champion Kyle Larson was fastest in Tuesday’s session, with a time of 27.329 (131,728 MPH) before being outpaced by Ryan Blaney (27,292, 131,907 MPH) in Wednesday’s session. The Ford teams all joined forces in Wednesday’s session, when four of the top five fastest cars came from the Blue Oval ranks.

With the off-season testing now complete, NASCAR league officials will now see their creation leave the lab to make its debut in the league. While NASCAR felt the Next Gen tests ended in a good spot with car and driver issues, there was an admission that the sanctioning body wouldn’t know for sure how the Next Gen car will hold up until it really gets through the rigors. is brought from racing.

“Right now, all indications are pretty good,” said NASCAR SVP of Racing Innovation John Probst. “Experience tells us not to get too happy, so we’ll be cautiously optimistic, how about that?”

The Next Gen car will make its debut on February 6 with the Clash at the Colosseum, which will be followed by a week-long break before the 2022 season officially kicks off with Speedweeks and the 64th edition of the Daytona 500.

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