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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

NASCAR does not need Subsequent Gen automobile to be “straightforward to drive”

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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 automobile was “actual edgy and laborious to really feel”, saying that he discovered it troublesome to “know the way a lot grip you might have – and when it snaps it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to catch it as nicely”.

JTG Daugherty driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr echoed his feedback, explaining that his first few laps on the observe with the automobile have been “bushy”.

Nonetheless NASCAR’s senior vp of racing innovation John Probst stated 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 all the time stated we would like one of the best drivers working up entrance,” stated Probst.

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“I believe for those who have a look at a number of the adjustments that we’ve made to the automobile, a number of the side-force that was within the automobile 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

Picture by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

The dearth of side-force that comes from the larger 18-inch wheels, bigger tyre sidewalls – which Stenhouse stated meant “you simply don’t really feel issues as fast” – and the symmetrical form of the automobile has been one of many huge 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 shall be one thing (the drivers) must get used to with respect to how the automobile drives, the way it recovers and if it’s free, how far you’ll be able to let it go earlier than it slides,” Probst stated.

Wednesday’s reported speeds from the take a look at have been about 1.5 to 2 seconds off the tempo of this yr’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.

Whereas the speeds have been slower – and the decrease horsepower observed by drivers – the variations within the Subsequent Gen automobile nonetheless altered the power of drivers to push the automobile to its limits.

Stenhouse stated the speeds felt “fairly sluggish … however once you do have a second, it truly virtually feels such as you’re going quicker.”

Probst stated NASCAR would cut back the scale of the rear spoilers throughout Thursday’s take a look at from 8 to 7 inches to judge the corresponding change in speeds (which needs to be quicker).

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 difficulty 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 stated.

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