Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola has shared his thoughts on NASCAR's Next Gen cars' performance so far. The 37-year-old believes the races at the LA Coliseum and Daytona do not represent the actual performance of the cars on conventional 1.5 or 2-mile tracks. He said:
“I honestly like you can’t really gauge anything off of the Coliseum or Daytona as it relates to here or next week at Vegas. I think these are going to be more of our bread and butter type race tracks for the season and the ones we are going to have to be good at as we go through the season and you want to compete for a championship.”
Almirola believes the West Coast swing tracks will set the tone for the car's pace throughout the 2022 NASCAR season. Speaking prior to practicing and qualifying for WISE Power 400, he said:
“How we run here, Vegas and Phoenix will really give us a good indicator of what we are in store for the season.”
Almirola's teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, Chase Briscoe, also agreed with the former's views, saying:
“I would echo what Aric said. I feel like the short track deal, a lot of cars are going to drive similar on the short track and same as the superspeedway. I feel like they are all going to have that same look and feel to them.”
Both drivers agree that having the same setup for every track does help gather data and in turn allows the team to learn about the car. Ultimately, Almirola and Harvick managed to crack the top ten and Briscoe finished 16th in the race on Sunday.
NASCAR Next Gen cars' tires will go through vigorous trial at Fontana, according to Kevin Harvick
The new 18-inch Goodyear tires will be put through their paces at Auto Club Speedway, says Kevin Harvick. The track, which has not been re-paved since 1997, is going to have high tire degradation, according to the Stewart-Haas driver.
“When you go to Fontana, a two-mile racetrack where you have the most aggressive tire falloff of all the racetracks we go to, it’ll be trial by fire.”
Watch Bubba Wallace Jr. push the tires' limits in practice in the video below:
Fontana has been known to produce the most aggressive tire fall-offs of any NASCAR track on the calendar, legitimizing Harvick's belief that the race will require significant tire management. Newer cars for this year also add another unknown as to how tires degrade and dictate how the race will pan out.