“It’s a Learning Process” – Denny Hamlin on His Experience in the Next Gen Car

Published 09/09/2021, 10:26 AM EDT
Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Earlier, a handful of drivers were selected to participate in a Next Gen test. Among them is the latest Cup Series race winner, Denny Hamlin. He was one of eight drivers at the Daytona International Speedway in a two-day session. It was the first time multiple Next Gen vehicles were on a super speedway in unison.

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Hamlin said, “We worked with some different packages to try to make the car suck up and draft. Obviously our number one priority is to put on a great show when we come back. We’re trying to figure out how we can make these cars draft and put on the greatest shows that we worked on for 20+ years with the other car. It’s a learning process.

“We’re really focused on the heat of the car, trying to get the heat out. Those are our main focuses for the day.”

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Who else joined Denny Hamlin out on the track?

Aside from Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, and Joey Logano are also participating. Also joining them are William Byron, Cole Custer, Ross Chastain and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The idea was to help officials and teams acquire information about how the car performs in a pack with aerodynamic draft.

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Apr 18, 2021; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

For a while, the Next Gen car tests only utilized one car on the race track. Though it is worth mentioning that two cars took to the tarmac at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, last year. Most of these tests largely revolved around vehicle development or tire testing. This is also the second time that the tests are being conducted at Daytona.

He continued, “It’s a race car, it’s got four tires and a steering wheel. So from my standpoint it doesn’t change greatly. But still there are some nuances. Your vision is a little different. The shifting is going to be different, especially when you go into road courses. So you’re going to want to get as many reps as you can to learn that. Any chance that I can get to get in it to be better acclimated, the better off I’ll be.”

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The last time it happened was in December 2020 with Buescher driving a P3 prototype. Owing to that particular test, officials were able to gain a fount of information and data on superspeedways. At the same time, it also allowed them to play around with a variety of settings.

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Dhruv George

11989 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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