RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - APRIL 02: William Byron, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 02, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - APRIL 02: William Byron, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 02, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Teams to test short track package at Richmond this week UPDATES

UPDATE 2: Testing at Richmond Raceway began Monday with optimism about what a new splitter might offer when crafting a 2024 short track and road course rules package for the NASCAR Cup Series. After altering some of the configurations Tuesday, NASCAR competition officials and teams gained insight into what other aerodynamic changes and a new direction with Goodyear tire compounds might offer.

Testing continued Tuesday at the 0.75-mile track, with the six participating teams cycling through softer Goodyear tire options. In earlier aerodynamic modeling, the new “lift splitter” or “up/down splitter,” so labeled because of its contours, had shown gains in downforce for trailing cars that would, in theory, reduce the negative effects of turbulent, “dirty” air in traffic — with computer modeling and wind-tunnel sessions supporting that notion.

The original plan was to concentrate on tires Tuesday, exploring softer compounds and different tire construction that could provide more grip and fall-off. Officials followed through with that but also added another group run to the Tuesday schedule and switched to remove the rear diffuser and add a 4-inch rear spoiler (up from the current 2-inch blade) to adjust the balance.

[Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR vice president of vehicle performance] said more discussion would need to take place before trying the configuration at other track types.

UPDATE: NASCAR was hoping to hit a “grand slam” with the different short-track package tested Monday at Richmond Raceway but instead acknowledged there are more ideas to be worked through.

“When we did the group runs, we wanted to see, OK, line them up like a real race, fastest to slowest and see what happens,” Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, NASCAR vice president of vehicle performance, said. “Then let’s invert them and see if those fast guys can get back to the front. So, we saw some of that, but a lot of the feedback from the drivers was it wasn’t quite enough.

“We’ve got some discussions ongoing on what we could do tomorrow based off some of their feedback. A good direction. They had a lot of feedback on tires, so tomorrow, we’ve got quite a bit going on. Hopefully that steers us in a good direction as well. Some good learnings today, for sure, but obviously, we wanted a grand slam and didn’t get that.”

NASCAR ran through three different splitter configurations with the six drivers who participated in the test. One option was not having a ride height rule, the other was a set ride height, and the third was a different front pan.

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ORIGINAL POST 7-29-2023: NASCAR competition officials have scheduled a two-day test of a potential new Cup Series rules configuration for short tracks and road courses for possible use in competition in 2024. Test days are set for Monday and Tuesday after this weekend’s events at Richmond Raceway.

A new front splitter – informally labeled an “up/down splitter” internally and already called a “lift splitter” among some drivers – is the key aerodynamic component to be tested. Six Cup Series teams are scheduled to participate at the 0.75-mile track, with multiple 30-lap runs scheduled for the group both days. The two-day test was originally scheduled for earlier in the month after the race weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but a forecast for inclement weather prompted competition officials to postpone the test, moving it to Richmond.

The package to be tested at Richmond takes a different tack with the Next Gen car’s underbody, designed to mitigate the lingering effect of dirty air and provide more level aerodynamic footing for cars in traffic. Jacuzzi said no changes are planned at the test for the rear spoiler, which was reduced from a 4-inch height to a 2-inch blade for those track types before the season. Teams will also test with and without a filler panel, which would cover some of the bracing material aft of the new splitter. Two ride-height settings will also be tested — one with a maximum 3-inch ground clearance and the other open to any ride height.

Teams scheduled to participate in the two-day test at Richmond are:

– No. 20 – Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (driver Christopher Bell)
– No. 21 – Wood Brothers Racing Ford (Harrison Burton)
– No. 24 – Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (William Byron)
– No. 31 – Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Justin Haley)
– No. 41 – Stewart-Haas Racing Ford (Ryan Preece)
– No. 42 – Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet (Noah Gragson)

The second day of the test will concentrate on testing Goodyear tire options, working to match the rules configuration with a softer, higher-wear compound. Jacuzzi said that based on feedback from drivers, NASCAR officials intentionally scheduled the test after a full race weekend so that teams could make runs on a rubbered-in track that more closely resembles racing conditions.

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