CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR officials and teams indicated that 670 horsepower would likely be the target engine output for almost all tracks in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series during Friday’s Next Gen testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The second of two days of organizational testing for the 2022 Cup Series’ new model was completed Friday afternoon at the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval. The 8 a.m. ET start time was delayed roughly 45 minutes because of a damp track caused by overnight dew.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Friday morning that focus on the 670-horsepower target emerged after meetings with teams, drivers and other competition officials. That figure also fell within a range that would be attractive to manufacturers looking to potentially enter the sport.
Each of the three configurations that were tested Friday at Charlotte used the 670-horsepower target.
“I would say we’re more than likely going with that number across all of our tracks,” said O’Donnell, noting later that a separate package for aero/engine would be used on superspeedways. “We’ve still got a few boxes to check post tests here where we get together with our (OEMs, original equipment manufacturers) and the teams and just confirm that’s the direction we want to go with. But everything we’ve seen so far, that tells us and that’s the horsepower we want to target and go with.”
Officials and teams shifted through three configurations during eight hours of testing Wednesday:
Configuration 1: 550 target horsepower, centered 7-inch spoiler — a 1-inch reduction from the most recent Charlotte test.
Configuration 2: 670 target horsepower, centered 6-inch spoiler.
Configuration 3: 670 target horsepower, 6-inch spoiler offset to the right (passenger) side.
A fourth configuration was tested in the latter part of Friday’s session, using the 670-horsepower output with a centered 4-inch rear spoiler. The setup is the latest configuration as teams, drivers and officials focus on determining the rules package that will be used in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.
“We know where we’re at. It’ll definitely be one of the goals has been to move a little bit more downforce toward the front because we were having to run so much rearward to add stability to the car,” said Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR managing director of aerodynamics and vehicle performance. “It seems like now that the car’s a little happier, better behaved at different ride heights, I think we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at. It seems like product-wise, we feel pretty good.”
Three 30-lap group runs were scheduled throughout the day. Teams began each run on new tires and lined up according to unofficial test speeds, fastest to slowest.
10 a.m. ET: 30-lap group run with Configuration 3
1 p.m. ET: 30-lap group run with Configuration 2
3 p.m. ET: 30-lap group run with Configuration 4
A separate rules package will be used at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, where speeds are curtailed on the circuit’s fastest ovals. O’Donnell said Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is being reconfigured with steeper banking for the 2022 season, may also fall into that category after tests are held there — Jan. 5-6 for the Cup Series.
More preseason tests are scheduled next month — Jan. 11-12 at Daytona, and Jan. 25-26 at Phoenix Raceway. Jacuzzi said the 2022 rules and car configurations should be mostly set after this week’s Charlotte tests.
“I think depending on what comes out of today, we’re like 95% there as far as the pieces here,” Jacuzzi said. “Making the final aero package, I think early next week, we’ll be there. Then obviously, superspeedways. We have the Talladega test, so we’re just looking at speeds and whether we can kind of unify the intermediate and speedway packages, but that all depends — safety, how fast we’re going. We always try to do that and we will, but we’ll be in much better shape early next week.”
William Byron was involved in an early incident, his No. 24 Chevrolet spinning out after a left-rear tire went flat. He was unhurt and the car sustained a minor scrape to the rear bumper.
Tyler Reddick spun in nearly the same location through Turns 3 and 4, in the midst of the first group run of the day. He drove the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet away from the scene. Reddick was involved in a more significant incident in the same area on Wednesday, popping the sand barrels at the end of the pit-road entrance.
Reddick was involved in two more incidents Friday, the final one as part of a three-car fracas exiting Turn 2 that also collected the No. 9 of Chase Elliott and the No. 42 of Ty Dillon. That final incident brought the final group run to an end with 12 laps complete.