CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR concluded its Next Gen testing for the year Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and announced a horsepower change for the 2022 season.
On the second day of the second round of testing, teams tested three configurations on the 1.5-mile oval: a 6-inch offset spoiler, a 6-inch centered spoiler and a 4-inch centered spoiler.
All three were run with 670 horsepower, which NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell confirmed would be the likely engine specification for the 2022 season at all tracks with the exception of Daytona International Superspeedway and Talladega Superspeedway and the repaved Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I would say we’re more than likely going with that number across all of our tracks,” O’Donnell said Friday morning during the test. “We’ve still got a few boxes to check post-test here where we get together with our (engine manufacturers) and the teams to just confirm that’s the direction we want to go with, but everything we’ve seen so far tells us that’s the horsepower we want to target and go with.”
For the past three seasons, NASCAR has switched between two horsepower packages depending on a track’s length. Most faster and larger speedways have been run with 550 horsepower, but results were deemed unsatisfactory after testing with that engine at Charlotte last month and Wednesday.
The 550-horsepower engine on the Next Gen car had produced speeds that were more than 2 seconds off the best lap by the Gen 6 car in its final practice on the oval last May. In switching to the 670 horsepower engine and making aerodynamic adjustments for this week’s testing, NASCAR was able to raise speeds above 180 mph and ahead of the Gen 6.
After beginning at 8 a.m. Friday and allowing the 18 cars at the test to make setup adjustments with individual runs for two hours, NASCAR organized group testing with 30-lap runs in each configuration to test handling in traffic.
There were multiple minor incidents Friday morning, beginning with William Byron suffering a flat left-rear tire an hour into the session. Byron was OK, and his No. 24 Chevrolet suffered minor right-rear damage.
At 10:15 a.m., Tyler Reddick spun off Turn 4 but avoided major damage to his No. 8 Chevrolet. The Richard Childress Racing driver missed the last half of Wednesday’s test after hitting the barrels at the pit entrance.
Here is a replay of the No. 24 car's incident. pic.twitter.com/v6v4TSQdtO
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) December 17, 2021
NASCAR planned to debrief again with drivers midafternoon Friday after the test with plans to cement the rules for 2022 soon.
Next Gen testing will continue Jan. 24-25 at Phoenix Raceway.