NASCAR Next Gen test at Daytona produces "pretty hard racing"

NASCAR didn’t waste any time to get those participating in Tuesday’s Next Gen test at Daytona International Speedway to get a feel for the draft in the Cup Series’ new car.

Just over two hours into the first of a two-day test, NASCAR asked teams to run a 10-lap drafting test on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

In the test, the cars utilized an aero package featuring 510 horsepower with a 7-inch spoiler. While NASCAR didn’t immediately release timing and scoring data from the session, officials said the speeds were “comparable” to those seen at Daytona during the 2021 season (averaging 186 to 187 mph).

“It’s obviously kind of the first day of school for everybody out here. With these cars and the way they draft, I was pretty happy with the way the pack formed up,” said Austin Cindric, a rookie with Team Penske.

“We were able to make runs and race for the lead. It was funny – it was pretty hard racing for a test session. It was fun, though. I don’t know if we’ll race in another pack today but I hope everybody enjoyed it.”

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During the 10-lap drafting run, there were a couple hairy moments as Denny Hamlin raced from the back of the pack to the front, then nudged Joey Logano to move into the lead. Hamlin quickly fell into the middle groove, however, and dropped to the rear of the pack.

“We don’t have the car quite handling the way we want yet. It’s pretty new still to us,” Logano said. “With the shoving, the car were moving around a lot. Myself, Denny, Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) – we were all out there shoving each other pretty hard and racing like we were coming to the checkered for the Daytona 500.

“I don’t why we do that. They’re race cars and we’re on a race track, it turns into a race and we race each other.”

Logano said so far it seems in the draft, a lot of the same things appear to apply as with the Gen-6 car.

“What worked in the past will work again now but runs have changed now and where the air is going – some of those things have changed,” he said. “It was intense, so say the least.

“There were a couple times where I thought, ‘I’m going to wreck this thing in testing and take the whole field with me.’ But we made it through.”

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