The day has arrived. After nearly two years of planning and development, the final tune up for the new Next Gen model has arrived. Beginning today, the NASCAR Cup Series will conduct two days of testing at the Phoenix Raceway as the venue that serves as the season finale will also serve as the final 16 hours of testing this new car out.
The sessions last from 11 am ET until 7 pm ET each day.
15 teams will take part in the test. If you have a four car team you can bring two cars. Anyone 3 cars or smaller are allotted one car.
Fans will be allowed to attend Tuesday’s test session from the Phoenix Raceway Canyon section of the grandstands. Admission is free, but fans must register for access online.
This is big in the sense that this is it. There’s no more testing left before we get going for the Busch Light Clash in less than two weeks. After the Clash, there’s just one full week off before we head to Daytona for Speedweeks.
This whole thing started when NASCAR first announced the Next Gen back on Feb. 4, 2019. Austin Dillon took the first car for a spin at Richmond on Oct. 8-9 that year. The next test was at Phoenix with Joey Logano taking his turn on Dec. 9-10.
From Jan. 15-16, 2020, Erik Jones took the wheel at Homestead. A fourth test occurred just before COVID fully took over at Fontana on March 2-3 with William Byron. On April 2, it was announced that the project would get delayed due to the pandemic. Later on that year (Aug. 24-25), there was a two-day test at Dover with Cole Custer getting his shot at the car.
All this was info gathering. In November, they got a second car out and had Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. drive them at Charlotte around the road course and oval on the 16th and 17th. A month later (Dec. 15-16) Chris Buescher took one of the cars for the first superspeedway test in Daytona.
Jan. 12 of last year, Kurt Busch hopped back in the car at Charlotte. That got them to the point of development being pretty much complete for a Feb. 1 briefing.
A ninth test happened at Richmond on March 16-17 with Bubba Wallace. A 10th test happened shortly after in Martinsville with one car for each manufacturer available. Alex Bowman (Chevy), David Ragan (Ford) and Drew Herring (Toyota) took over. On April 6-7, it was Tyler Reddick’s turn at Darlington.
On May 5, the manufacturers had their official unveiling of what the cars would look like. That led to wheel force testing at Charlotte and Dover in June followed by a crash test at Talladega to close out the month.
The biggest test at the time occurred on Sept. 7-8 at Daytona between eight cars. Then came the first organizational test on the Charlotte ROVAL on Oct. 11-12.
Oct. 26 was the Bowman Gray test followed by the Charlotte oval on Nov. 17-18. Then, came more testing at Charlotte on Dec. 15 and again on the 17th.
That led to the final findings.
Atlanta held a test on Jan. 4-6 then Daytona Jan. 11-12 before the test at Phoenix this week.