Chis Buescher wrapped up a two-day test for the Next Gen at the Daytona International Speedway this week. The Roush Fenway Racing driver drove the only car available for this test so NASCAR could get some good data for the superspeedway.
NASCAR felt like the test at Daytona was highly important for what they’re trying to do. At the end of it, they were quite please with what came out of it.
One of those goals was to hit the right speed. They did that on the first day.
“Daytona was an important test for us, because when we come back here in 2022 we have to make sure we hit the speed targets that we’re looking for,” said John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation. “We came here with one car, obviously we would like to come here with 15 or 20, but we just don’t have that many right now.
“So we played with a lot of horsepower levels and drag levels to hit our target speed, which we were able to do pretty easily. We did that early in day one. Then spent the rest of the test trying some new things on steering and also doing some ride-height sweeps just to get some sensitivities in the car to ride height.
“Nothing surprising, and all good as far as the development of the car.”
On what’s next and future test plans
“I think some of the stuff we found in the car is very promising for some of the other tracks we’re going to take it to. So if anything, we may try to get on a local track up in the Charlotte area for a couple hours to verify what we found here translates to some other track types.
“Right now we’re working with the OEMs and with the teams to establish what our testing schedule will look like next year. We will be working with Goodyear to do a couple more tests with the car, but it will be coming out of the development phase and we’ll be focusing primarily on the tires. We’ll probably do three or four tire tests in the first half of next year for Goodyear.”
On what it means to see this new car here at the Birthplace of Speed
“It’s really cool to be across the street from headquarters. It’s a good opportunity for a lot of our folks across the street to come over and see what we’ve been doing. It’s always special when we come to Daytona and to wrap up our 2020 testing schedule here is something special.”
Buescher, was happy to be asked to do this test and said that while doing just single car laps at Daytona can be mundane, he’s excited for how this car will race in a couple of years.
“For starters, the speed, we went through a lot of different changes to try to dial in what we know and get closer on what we don’t know,” Buescher said. “To try to have a competitive race and still do it within a reasonable speed. Just worked through a couple little nuance things that are just a lot different, and honestly it’s a little bit of just mind over matter as far as shifting, trying to make sure you keep pulling backwards for the sequential stuff, which was really neat. I really enjoyed using it and got better as it went, learning what it can and can’t do there by the end. The brakes are terrific and I know this isn’t even a short-track set-up, but they stop extremely well. There’s not going to be any issues getting to pit road and not having the stopping power, just going to be a matter of not spinning out.
“Obviously Daytona single-car is not the most fun kind of testing, but a lot was learned. I’m glad I did it. Even if it’s as little as going back and looking at the car we have at Roush, that we’ve been working on and sitting in, and trying to figure out what we feel like is the right thing to do from my input where the pedals and stuff need to be. Definitely a good test for me. I’m glad I got to drive the thing before we start testing late next year, I’m glad I got the opportunity.”
Chris Buescher on feedback collected in the test
“A lot of this one was trying to gather data. There’s telemetry and sensors all over this racecar. I’ve seen some of the comments on social media talking about how bad the wiring looks inside. Well, yes, it’s bad, but it’s because there’s so much in this car that is just for testing purposes. They’re gathering so much information.
They’re just trying to get from my standpoint what feels right. What’s accurate. What we need feel-wise to back the data up and make it look at the targets going forward. Going through tires, and aero packages and what we think would draft well or be able to put on good racing in a large pack. Try to pick out the little tiny differences in what we do. It’s difficult because the nature of Daytona, you’re really splitting hairs here. I told them a couple times, I don’t know if you’re playing tricks on me or what, I don’t know if I’m getting used to this or if it’s actually gotten better.”