The primary day of a gaggle take a look at on the Charlotte Motor Speedway oval on Wednesday proved eventful, with Austin Dillon crashing his Richard Childress Chevrolet, whereas newly-crowned 2021 champion Kyle Larson and veteran Denny Hamlin had spins.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman reported that the brand new automotive was “actual edgy and onerous to really feel”, saying that he discovered it troublesome to “understand how a lot grip you might have – and when it snaps it doesn’t seem to be you possibly can catch it as properly”.
JTG Daugherty driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr echoed his feedback, explaining that his first few laps on the monitor with the automotive had been “bushy”.
Nonetheless NASCAR’s senior vp of racing innovation John Probst mentioned that he wasn’t involved by the feedback and welcomed the drivers discovering it extra of a problem.
“We don’t need the automobiles to be straightforward to drive, we’ve at all times mentioned we wish the most effective drivers working up entrance,” mentioned Probst.
“I believe in the event you have a look at numerous the adjustments that we’ve made to the automotive, numerous the side-force that was once within the automotive is gone so it’s not as forgiving as its been earlier than.
“You noticed a few of that (Wednesday) morning.”
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally
Photograph by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images
The shortage of side-force that comes from the larger 18-inch wheels, bigger tyre sidewalls – which Stenhouse mentioned meant “you simply don’t really feel issues as fast” – and the symmetrical form of the automotive has been one of many large adjustments on the brand new machines, with Bowman predicting “you’re going to see guys crash much more” whereas studying the place the restrict is.
Responding to the spate of incidents on Wednesday, Probst conceded that the brand new automobiles “are a bit edgier”, however predicted that set-ups will enhance that mitigate this.
“Actually with the shortage of side-force, that will probably be one thing (the drivers) should get used to with respect to how the automotive drives, the way it recovers and if it’s free, how far you possibly can let it go earlier than it slides,” Probst mentioned.
Wednesday’s reported speeds from the take a look at had been about 1.5 to 2 seconds off the tempo of this yr’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.
Whereas the speeds had been slower – and the decrease horsepower observed by drivers – the variations within the Subsequent Gen automotive nonetheless altered the power of drivers to push the automotive to its limits.
Stenhouse mentioned the speeds felt “fairly gradual … however whenever you do have a second, it truly virtually feels such as you’re going sooner.”
Probst mentioned NASCAR would scale back the scale of the rear spoilers throughout Thursday’s take a look at from eight to 7 inches to guage the corresponding change in speeds (which ought to be sooner).
He added that a change made to the automobiles previous to this take a look at – the addition of rear window vents to deal with a heating situation that arose in a earlier take a look at at Daytona – are including drag and slowing the automobiles.
“We’ll run that and see the place it will get us,” he mentioned.