Logano tests radical Next Gen car at Phoenix

Jim Utter

While the two-day test is closed to fans and media, NASCAR’s social media channels published numerous pictures of the car on Monday, which offered a more thorough glimpse into its design than its appearance in a test at Richmond in October.

Austin Dillon drove the car at Richmond, which featured a back-and-white camouflaged wrap, while Joey Logano is handling the test at Phoenix – with a far more dramatic black color scheme with red detailing on the nose – that concludes Tuesday. The car (formerly known as the 'Gen-7') has been prepared by Richard Childress Racing.

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While the test car still has a manufacturer-generic overall design, several features stood out in the photos published Monday – including the far more stock-looking wheels and wheel well, body side molding and character lines, hood design and what appears to be some air exhaust vents built into the rear bumper.

"We started running through different tires and different aero packages and tried different things to see what would make the best racing. It’s not about what drives the best, what’s the easiest to drive - we don’t want that," Logano said after the first day of testing.

"We want something that’s challenging that will show that the best driver and the best team will prevail. So, we’re trying things on different extremes – a lot of downforce, and then little downforce and then figure out what’s going to make the best racing. And then you go from there to make the next step, bring some more cars.

"We’re still in the preliminary stages, but we definitely have some cool pieces to the car."

In a news conference last month at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the goal of the Next Gen car was to “put the ‘stock’ back in stock car.”

“Our OEM partners (manufacturers) were here looking at the showroom car or the street car versus what our race car will look like. It’s going to be extraordinary,” he said.

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The next test for the car is scheduled for January at Homestead and it will mark the first time the car is tested on an intermediate track, the type that makes up the bulk of the Cup series schedule.