Dale Earnhardt Jr. Shines on Day 1 of Daytona NASCAR Next Gen Test

·3 min read
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
  • The day’s top speeds were posted in a draft by a pair of Team Penske drivers. Austin Cindric led the way at 190.621 mph, and Logano followed at 190.617.

  • Speeds were in the mid-180s in an earlier morning session that didn’t including drafting. Harrison Burton led that session in a Ford at 184.264.

  • The cars carried their numbers behind the front wheelwells (as opposed to the traditional spot on the doors), and the wheels had only one lug nut.

The cars were dramatically different, but the on-track look was much the same.

NASCAR drivers put the new NextGen car through its paces in the first day of a two-day test Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway.

The day’s top speeds were posted in a draft by a pair of Team Penske drivers. Austin Cindric led the way at 190.621 mph, and Logano followed at 190.617. Chevrolet drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was testing for Hendrick Motorsports, and Justin Haley were third and fourth.

Speeds were in the mid-180s in an earlier morning session that didn’t including drafting. Harrison Burton led that session in a Ford at 184.264.

The cars carried their numbers behind the front wheelwells (as opposed to the traditional spot on the doors), and the wheels had only one lug nut, but the drafting looked very similar to that of past years.

There were no incidents.

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

“It’s as close as it looks,” said Joey Logano of the first drafting session. “Getting the cars more stable on the straightaway is probably the biggest thing we need to work on. We don’t have our car handling the way we want it to just yet.

“But we were shoving each other pretty hard. Drafting is still drafting. It was intense.”

Logano was at the front of the pack during much of the early-afternoon drafting session. Denny Hamlin moved from the back to the front during the 10-lap run.

NASCAR official John Probst said he was pleased with Tuesday’s results. The sanctioning body made changes to the cars after an abbreviated test at DIS last year resulted in some heating issues and steering problems with the new car.

“When you look at the last time we were here, we had drivers being pretty blunt with feedback about things we needed to fix,” Probst said. “The pedals were hot, and there were cooling issues and they had some trouble getting used to the steering.

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

What we saw today was pretty good racing like we’ve become accustomed to here and at Talladega.”

A second drafting session Tuesday evening included 10 cars. Hamlin’s Toyota blew an engine late in the session.

The new car number placement, a dramatic departure from standard procedure, has been criticized by some fans. “I have an unpopular take,” said driver Corey LaJoie. “I think the number forward looks cooler than the number in the center of the door. That’s a hot take that might get me stoned on pit road. But I don’t mind spicing it up a little bit.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting