INDIANAPOLIS — Kudos NASCAR. Seriously, major props have to go in their direction. The test last week confirmed it and on Tuesday morning, Steve O’Donnell announced the move that the NASCAR Cup Series will indeed use the 670 horsepower model with 4 inch rear spoiler.
I have to applaud them immensely for even having the open mind to entertain doing this. They could have kept a closed mind and used the 550 package still even though most garage and in the grandstands watching favored more horsepower and less downforce. We could have kept getting beat over the head how much this 550 package is great for the sport. Instead, they didn’t insult our intelligence.
Instead, they offered a solution and tested it out to ensure their solution would work. In comes an additional 120 horsepower and a smaller spoiler.
The determination came after a meeting with competition officials, drivers and representatives for teams and manufacturers at the end of two days of testing last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those sessions marked the final tests scheduled this year for the Next Gen car that will make its debut in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series. The rules package for superspeedway events will be determined later.
Competition officials worked with teams to try four engine/aerodynamics configurations last week on Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval layout. Officials said the fourth and final package — a higher 670-horsepower figure and a centered 4-inch rear spoiler for reduced rear downforce — received majority support from those attending Friday’s post-test meeting.
“It’s been a two-year process,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “So certainly, it came down to Friday, but that was really through all the work, the thousands of hours of on-track testing and the collaboration with the industry and continued tests to really narrow down what could be the final rules package for the Next Gen car. Friday, we were able to solidify that. We met with the industry, a number of drivers post-test on Friday with the packages we had narrowed down and really hit on what we all thought would be a great Next Gen car in terms of going out under one rules package with 670 horsepower and then a low-downforce 4-inch spoiler, which we we believe we can implement across all of our tracks outside of superspeedways.
“So the bottom line of all this, and you’ll hear this from the drivers is that this package with the Next Gen car puts it back in the drivers’ hands and we’re excited about what that will do in 2022, for sure.”
The base rules configuration will be used at road courses, short tracks and intermediate-sized circuits during the 2022 season including the new Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“It’s really a new beginning for everyone, right?” O’Donnell said. “So no one has a ton of data they can go back and look at for this car where we previously raced, and that’s a neat thing for the race fan. So they’re going to see the best drivers and the best engineers in the world go out there and attack this car and attack each race track, and it will be hard to drive. I think the drivers are enthusiastic about that. The tire that Goodyear has come with has really put strategy back into a race, so some of that old-school racing that a lot of fans have talked about, I think you’ll see. We’ll learn along the way as well, and there are different things we can take away from this season coming up in ’22 as we look to continually improve upon what we believe is going to be a great launch of the Next Gen car.”
A separate superspeedway rules package for the Cup Series’ largest and fastest ovals — Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway — will be determined next month. Atlanta Motor Speedway will potentially be added to that rules package but that depends on the Jan. 5-6 test there.
After that test, they’ll go to a two-day session (Jan. 11-12) at Daytona then figure out the right configurations for the speedway package.
“Yeah, we’re close,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve done a number of tests already but our next step in the process for superspeedways will be in Atlanta, early January to confirm what package we want to put on that race track. We expect that to be the superspeedway package. Then from there, we’ll go to Daytona on the 11th and 12th of January, and really what we’re looking at there is the speed of the car. So there’s potential we could shorten the spoiler a little bit. We’ve made some cooling adjustments to the car that affected a little bit of the drag of this car, so we want to make sure that the speeds are commensurate with where we’ve run in the past. So getting some extra laps on the car, both days getting the teams more familiar with the car at the Daytona and then we’ll finalize it coming out of that test.”
Again, this is mega news out of NASCAR to do so. While the Next Gen car has been a real hassle getting 100% ready, NASCAR has done a phenomenal job in making it all right by adjusting and testing. I give them massive credit for doing so.
This car now will have more time off throttle with larger fall off too.