The next-generation car debuted in 2022 with a strong showing on mid-tracks. NASCAR is now planning changes to fix road courses and short tracks after they left something to be desired.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, provided insight during the annual State of the Sports address ahead of the Cup Series. He and NASCAR President Steve Phelps faced many questions, including one about lackluster work away from breakout speeds and mediums.
“I think you have to start by really looking at a small sample size in terms of what we were able to go and do, especially on the short trails,” O’Donnell said during the briefing.
“Definitely looking at some of the aerodynamic changes for both the short tracks and road courses. We have a lot of conversations going on with the drivers in terms of potentially looking at some strong stuff. I think that’s a bit more complicated.”
NASCAR Project Provided Update
There are several ways NASCAR has examined some of the potential changes for the 2023 season. There was a tire test at Martinsville Speedway prior to qualifying. There was also some information from a separate project.
“There are a few things we looked at even through Garage 56 that we found from an aerial viewpoint that could be put in place early next year for both short runs and road courses,” O’Donnell continued.
“The good news is to continue to contact brokers that we think are in a really good place, but then really focus on short runs and road courses. A lot of work is being done collectively to focus on both areas.”
Garage 56 is a special rating applicable to the single entry category dedicated to the innovative vehicles of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The appointment allows for the opportunity to test new technology during an endurance race without pulling another competitor’s entry.
NASCAR has plans to take the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023 with a Garage 56 designation. The car will be a Chevrolet in collaboration with Hendrick Motorsports.
Short path improvement will be critical
There is still a significant amount of work to be done before the 2023 season begins. Fixing safety concerns is the top item on the worksheet, but improving the procedure on short tracks is also there.
There are already several short-track races in the 2023 season. The drivers will take the Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway twice each.
They will also have a real short-haul race at Bristol Motor Speedway and trips to one-mile tracks at Phoenix Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
There are already several races that will benefit from some of the package changes, and there will be another in 2024. Auto Club Speedway will undergo a reconfiguration after the 2023 race and will become NASCAR’s latest short track. If the package isn’t fixed by the first race on the California circuit, there will be more significant comments made on the next generation car.
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