NASCAR Cup Series teams closed out the first of two days of an organizational test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday with drivers offering their intent to continue learning the Next Gen car.
The Team Penske duo of Austin Cindric and Joey Logano posted the fastest laps in Tuesday’s session, with the rookie Daytona 500 winner Cindric pacing the field at 165.548 mph. But drivers said the prime focus was to gather data, information and a better feel for the seventh-generation stocker ahead of its first event there, the Dixie Vodka 400 on Oct. 23 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM).
“Just kind of learning this car at this race track,” said Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, the track’s most recent winner back in February 2021. “Try to get a baseline set-up, I would say, and maybe a couple things apply to Texas, possibly. So just try to keep learning this car and just get a little bit better.”
The organizational test session is scheduled to continue Wednesday, with wheel-force cars from each manufacturer joining the action Wednesday and Thursday. Drivers and teams welcomed the extra track time, a luxury in the streamlined practice and qualifying format introduced this season.
With the opportunity for more laps available, the chance to take more drastic swings at car setups also increased.
“To me it’s less about tuning and getting prepared for when we come back to Homestead, as it is learning overall and trying some things that maybe we haven’t had the opportunity to try,” said Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell. “I mean, if you think about practice this year, you get 20 minutes and you go right out for qualifying. You cannot make big changes; they won’t allow you to. So here we’re going to try a few things that we probably haven’t gotten to try throughout the season.”
Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, said during a Tuesday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that no changes in rules configurations were planned during the test days.
“NASCAR doesn’t have a real agenda for the organizational tests,” Miller told SiriusXM. “This is completely whatever the teams want to do working on setups, working on whatever it is that they’re doing to collect data, to better understand the Next Gen to help with setups down the road. So it’s one of their few opportunities to go to a race track, collect all the data that they want and need and experiment, have time to wildly change setups and try to understand different things. So it’s an important test for the teams, but for us, we have a presence down there obviously, but we have no agenda or for anything on the docket for the teams to do. It’s their test.”
Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing
Richard Childress Racing
Front Row Motorsports
John Hunter Nemechek
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Wood Brothers Racing