NASCAR holds preseason Next Gen test at Daytona


Until 2014, the NASCAR Cup Series typically conducted a test session at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the upcoming season nicknamed “Preseason Thunder”. Eight years later, it returned… sort of.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, seventeen cars took to the high banking of Daytona to practice drafting in the Next Gen car set to début in 2022. Both sessions were topped by Fords as rookie Harrison Burton was the fastest each time ahead of Team Penske ally and fellow Cup newcomer Austin Cindric, as well as another Penske entry driven by Joey Logano in the first and Ryan Blaney in the second.

With Kyle Larson in Oklahoma for the Chili Bowl Nationals, Hendrick Motorsports entrusted his #5 to Dale Earnhardt Jr., a two-time Daytona 500 winner who last raced in Cup in 2017. Earnhardt, who tested the Next Gen at Bowman Gray Stadium in October, was twelfth and fifth in two sessions.

Some teams with multiple drivers rotated for the second test day. For example, the Spire Motorsports #7 was shared by regular driver Corey LaJoie and Landon Cassill, who will run the Busch Light Clash in the team’s #77. Denny Hamlin skipped Day 2 after blowing an engine while in the draft in the first.

“It’s been a long two days and I would say that we were really happy with where we netted out here,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President for Innovation and Racing Development John Probst. “I feel like this was a pretty good extension of the test that we did in Atlanta about a week ago. We were able to dial in the package a little bit more than when we were here in late 2021.”

It was the second such session at Daytona after first testing in September. The final test before the Next Gen cars formally roll out at the Clash is scheduled at Phoenix Raceway.

Day 1 results

Position Number Driver Team Manufacturer Best Time Margin Best Speed
1 21 Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing Ford 48.843 Leader 184.264
2 2 Austin Cindric Team Penske Ford 48.844 + .001 184.260
3 22 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 48.849 + .006 184.241
4 7 Corey LaJoie Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 49.944 + 1.101 180.202
5 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 49.954 + 1.111 180.166
6 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 49.969 + 1.126 180.112
7 45 Kurt Busch 23XI Racing Toyota 50.055 + 1.212 179.802
8 15 Cody Ware Rick Ware Racing Ford 50.274 + 1.431 179.019
9 43 Erik Jones Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 50.473 + 1.630 178.313
10 1 Daniel Suárez Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet 50.529 + 1.686 178.116
11 6 Brad Keselowski RFK Racing Ford 50.568 + 1.725 177.978
12 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 50.839 + 1.996 177.029
13 38 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 50.914 + 2.071 176.769
14 27 Jacques Villeneuve Team Hezeberg Ford 50.930 + 2.087 176.713
15 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 50.949 + 2.106 176.647
16 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 50.960 + 2.117 176.609
17 31 Justin Haley Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 51.033 + 2.190 176.356
18 66 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Ford 51.483 + 2.640 174.815

Day 2 results

Position Number Driver Team Manufacturer Best Time Margin Best Speed
1 21 Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing Ford 46.082 Leader 195.304
2 2 Austin Cindric Team Penske Ford 46.118 + .036 195.152
3 12 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 46.900 + .818 191.898
4 43 Ty Dillon Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet 47.360 + 1.278 190.034
5 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 47.365 + 1.283 190.014
6 24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 47.379 + 1.297 189.958
7 1 Daniel Suárez Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet 47.390 + 1.308 189.913
8 31 Daniel Hemric Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 47.411 + 1.329 189.829
9 7 Landon Cassill Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 47.482 + 1.400 189.546
10 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 47.547 + 1.465 189.286
11 38 Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford 47.952 + 1.870 187.688
12 66 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Ford 4.7965 + 1.883 187.637
13 6 Chris Buescher RFK Racing Ford 48.037 + 1.955 187.356
14 15 Cody Ware/David Ragan Rick Ware Racing Ford 48.130 + 2.048 186.994
15 45 Kurt Busch 23XI Racing Toyota 49.692 + 3.610 181.116
16 3 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 50.218 + 4.136 179.219
17 27 Jacques Villeneuve Team Hezeberg Ford 50.669 + 4.587 177.623



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