DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The second day of testing the Next Gen car on the Daytona International Speedway high banks went as smoothly as teams could expect – with many cars swapping out drivers for the day and a fresh leaderboard of fast times.
NASCAR Cup Series rookie Harrison Burton was fastest on the day with a lap of 195.304 mph, followed closely by Ford teammate and fellow series rookie Austin Cindric (195.152 mph) – their speeds reflective of the two-car drafting they did for much of the day. Cindric’s Team Penske teammate, Ryan Blaney, was third (191.898 mph) in a closed session that ended about an hour early of the originally scheduled 5 p.m. ET checkered flag.
Blaney, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Landon Cassill, Todd Gilliland, Chris Buescher, David Ragan and Tyler Reddick were among the 17 drivers turning laps Wednesday – swapping seats with teammates in the team cars.
NASCAR’s senior vice president for innovation and racing development, John Probst, spoke after the final day of on-track activity and was encouraged about the state of Daytona racing heading into the Feb. 20 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“It’s been a long two days and I would say that we were really happy with where we netted out here,” Probst said. “I feel like this was a pretty good extension of the test that we did in Atlanta about a week ago. We were able to dial in the package a little bit more than when we were here in late 2021.
“Pretty happy with where the speeds netted out. I think if anybody was watching online, they saw that the group run we did yesterday was pretty darn good racing, and some of the drivers got out and said we’re racing hard already. You know, there’s no money or points or trophies on the line, so I think that when we come back here in February, we’re ready to put on a really good show.”
The Next Gen cars will move to the Phoenix Raceway mile for one final test before the Feb. 6 Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (6 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) exhibition.