Next Gen test at Daytona produced "pretty hard racing"

NASCAR Cup Series rookie Austin Cindric said that the first experience of drafting the new Next Gen cars at Daytona International Speedway featured “pretty hard racing for a test session”.

Next Gen test at Daytona produced "pretty hard racing"

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 utilised an aero package featuring 510 horsepower with a seven-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.

Cindric, who finished runner-up in the 2021 Xfinity Series to Daniel Hemric after a photo finish in the Phoenix final race, steps up to Cup this season with Team Penske following 2012 champion Brad Keselowski's move to become an co-owner of the newly re-named Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing team. 

“It’s obviously kind of the first day of school for everybody out here, said Cindric, who will also drive a WeatherTech Racing Mercedes in this month's Daytona 24 Hours.

PLUS: How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

“With these cars and the way they draft, I was pretty happy with the way the pack formed up.

“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.”

Cindric, pictured in December testing at Charlotte, enjoyed the physicality of the draft

Cindric, pictured in December testing at Charlotte, enjoyed the physicality of the draft

Photo by: NASCAR Media

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 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,” 2018 Cup champion Logano said.

“With the shoving, the cars 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 [get] 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 previous 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, to 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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