Officials from the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) had scheduled two days of testing at Phoenix Raceway on January 24th and 25th, 2023.
The testing was organized to examine the necessary updates to the Next Gen car’s rules package, including possible aerodynamics changes, trial runs using mufflers in some races, and efforts to cut rubber build-up in wheel wells.
A total of six NASCAR Cup Series teams took part in testing sessions at Arizona Oval on Tuesday and Wednesday. Officials divided the two-day testing into five sessions. The first practice run uses the current rules configuration to set a baseline, followed by four additional sessions using various combinations.
The changes were implemented to improve the quality of racing for drivers on road courses and oval tracks of less than a mile, but officials said that the benefits seen on these tracks should be carried to all track types.
Cup Series teams and drivers, including officials of the sport, will aim to evaluate aerodynamic improvements in traffic and overtaking ability through modifications to the car’s floor or underwing.
NASCAR Vice President of Vehicle Performance, Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, said computer modeling of these changes generated more downforce, but these demonstrations also showed fundamental differences in traffic behavior.
In a statement, Jacuzzi said:
“It doesn’t lose as much front downforce when it’s behind another car, so it doesn’t push as it gets closer. You can tie it back to if you watch the cars run on the track, right? You notice they run ‘nose up’ a lot, and it’s because the more air you can put to the diffuser, the more downforce it makes in the back.”
“So we made these changes that put more air to it, so that lets us knock the spoiler height down and still be at roughly the same downforce that we were at the start of the year. We assume that teams have gained a little bit, just optimizing where they can build things. So we’re roughly in the same spot that we were at the start of last year, but with a much smaller spoiler.”
NASCAR teams that participated in the two-day test at Phoenix Raceway
Here is a list of NASCAR drivers and teams scheduled to participate in the two-day test:
- Ross Chastain – #1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
- Brad Keselowski - #6 RFK Racing Ford
- Christopher Bell - #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
- Joey Logano - #22 Team Penske Ford
- Jimmie Johnson - #43 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - #47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
The Phoenix Raceway facility, which had hosted NASCAR’s championship weekends for the past three seasons, is also the site of the Next Gen organization test on January 25th and 26th, 2023.