NASCAR’s Off-Season Testing to Be Futile as They Refuse to Take the Final Step Claims Xfinity Insider

Published 11/11/2023, 1:31 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The excitement and insanity of the championship weekend is yet to die down and NASCAR is already gearing up for the next season. Thankfully, the new tires provided by Goodyear for the race in Phoenix avoided major mishaps. But the short track woes of drivers found no such solution this season. 

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The racing authority has now come up with yet another temporary bandaid to address the shifting and passing issues relentlessly faced by the racers this season. However, Xfinity insider Eric Estepp called them out for not seeking the most obvious transformation.

NASCAR refuses to heed driver requirements for 2024 Next Gen racecar

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In order to provide more control and mobility to NASCAR drivers, the Next Gen car introduced a 5-speed sequential gearbox. This was touted as a much-needed upgrade over the older 4-speed H-shaped transmissions used by the Generation VI cars. However, the upgrade could not prevent shifting issues in the past two years and drivers continued to find passing difficult, particularly on shorter tracks. To combat this, the sport’s governing body has once again produced newer underbodies and transaxle for the next season. 

Fox Sports journalist Bob Pockrass shared crucial information about upcoming tests scheduled in Phoenix for the 2024 season. Spire MotorsportsCorey LaJoie will be one of the racers who will take part in testing the newer parts on December 5 and 6. Each of the three manufacturers- Chevrolet, Toyota, and Ford, will have two drivers each to determine the efficacy of these changes. Popular YouTuber Eric Estepp, who has previously sponsored Xfinity driver Brennan Poole, was frustrated with those short-term solutions.

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Estepp said, “I applaud them for trying to get rid of the shifting. Although between the new transaxle, many of these other experiments that have failed like the up-down splitter, these tests are getting expensive.” And if NASCAR was willing to incur the expenses, Estepp would rather have them invest in increased horsepower. He continued, “At what point do we just say, hey let’s up the horsepower. I know that might be expensive as well for all the OEMs to update some of their parts and pieces to accommodate that extra horsepower, but it still feels like we’re running in circles.”

Estepp felt although the perpetual tire troubles seemingly eased in Phoenix, the racing authority was ignoring the drivers’ pleas where horsepower was concerned. He urged, “GoodYear bringing a different tire to the championship race this past weekend. That’s a good step in the right direction. Maybe finally we’re starting to inch towards that finish line but it has taken a long time to get here…and NASCAR and the teams and the manufacturers still seem reluctant to pull that final lever that likely would make the biggest difference, at least according to many drivers.”

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This is not all. In the Insiders Roundtable held during this season’s playoffs, the winningest driver, William Byron, strongly advocated for the proposed change.

William Byron also wants to shift the focus of NASCAR toward Next Gen’s horsepower

Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 driver William Byron won six races this season. Most of them were at 1.5-mile tracks, such as Las Vegas or Texas, or a superspeedway like Atlanta. On shorter tracks like Martinsville or Richmond, Byron finished outside the Top 10. Plagued with the same difficulties, the HMS driver is a strong proponent of the elimination of shifting and a boost in the horsepower of his Chevrolet Camaro.

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In the recent roundtable organized by NASCAR, the #24 driver recalled races from a decade ago that benefitted from greater horsepower. Byron said, “I was watching a lot of races in 2014…They had the 850 horsepower I think it was, and they had the pretty tall spoiler. And I thought the racing was awesome at Martinsville. And even the ‘07-’08 one when the cars had a lot of horsepower.”

Byron further suggested, “I just thought that those were the good races to me because you saw lunges off the corner. Maybe the shifting is doing the same thing. But I feel if you eliminate the shifting and you had more horsepower on the short tracks, you could have something that would create that spinning the tires but staying in the same gear to do it.”

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Hopefully, the results of the upcoming testing will grant sufficient time to the governing body to incorporate essential changes suggested by its seasoned drivers. 

Days After Failing To Clinch Championship Title, William Byron Sets His Eyes on Another Trophy

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Written by:

Parika Singh

246Articles

One take at a time

I began my motorsport journey in the European lanes of Formula 1, but after years of predictability, I ventured into the road courses and oval tracks of the United States. Upon discovering NASCAR, I was fascinated by the anecdotal gems waiting to be uncovered. Since I am a storyteller by heart, NASCAR gave me the perfect canvas with its cherished camaraderie and ancient rivalries.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh

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