John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation, Quotes from Next Gen Test at Dover International Speedway
John Probst on the return to on-track testing
We were making really good progress and were on target to launch the car in 2021, but obviously with everything happening with the pandemic, we had to take a step back. But it’s great to be back out here testing this car. We’re all racers – we wanted to get back on track as soon as it was possible, and safe.
John Probst on goals for the Dover test
Every time we test this car, we’re bringing a new team into the fold. Obviously RCR has been part of it from the start, but this was the first test for Stewart-Haas. It takes a bit for new teams to get up to speed, but by the second time on track we were running lap times comparable to the race on Sunday, so we’re happy with the speed of the car.
Dover is one of our highest load tracks, so we want to put heat in the car and laps and mileage on the parts and pieces. Our goal is to get 500 miles on the car this test and we finished Monday at 226, so we’re on a good pace.
The most important thing for us is to validate what we think is going to happen. It’s important that when the team adjusts the car, it responds in a manner that is predictable. We’re in a good place in overall development of the car and now we can focus on handling and driveability. So far, so good.
John Probst on new components in the car for Dover
This is the same car we’ve had at previous tests, the biggest difference is probably the driveline. We now have all production-intent parts and pieces for the driveline, from the clutch shaft to the axles. So that is a really big reason for us to put as many miles on it as we can.
John Probst on the Next Gen timeline
Right now, the most important part of the project is getting all of the OEM bodies approved by the end of September. That is a really big milestone for us, and we’re on track to hit it. In terms of on-track testing, we still want to get to a superspeedway, and we’re looking at something at Daytona after the season ends. There is also significant enough interest that we may look into doing other on-track tests.
Cole Custer Quotes from Next Gen Test at Dover International Speedway
Cole Custer on his expectations coming into the Next Gen test
I went in kind of skeptical, just because it’s brand new to me and I didn’t know what to expect. I learned coming into the Cup Series that you can’t have too many preconceived notions, because it will just mess you up. Especially at a track like Dover – you don’t know what you have going into the first corner going down the hill. But it all worked out, everybody did a great job.
The test has been really smooth. We got a lot done on the first day. It took one or two runs to get the car dialed in, but it has handled really well and we’re running competitive lap times. Overall, we made a lot of gains and now just trying to make changes as we go.
Cole Custer on the biggest difference between the current car and the Next Gen car
It’s been different getting used to some of the things on the car, but it’s not ‘night and day’ compared with our current car. The biggest adjustment to me has been the steering. Currently we have a steering box, the new car has a rack and pinion, it’s a totally different feel. You’re able to adjust it, and everybody will have their own preference on how they want it to feel. Overall, I’m really happy with how the car felt and handled.