By Jordan Dodson
Tuesday and Wednesday Sprint Cup teams got their first crack at the new “Generation Six” car since NASCAR released the official rulebook for 2013. Teams tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway for two days as they figured out their new race car.
The “Generation Six” cars have received overwhelming positive feedback on its slick looks and similarities to the manufacturer’s street cars. But what do drivers have to say about how it drives?
In Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s words, “really impressed.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. had positive comments after his first test session with the new car. Earnhardt said the car has a lot of potential and likes it “leaps and bounds” better than the Car of Tomorrow. He also added that the balance and down force of the car is to his liking. Earnhardt commented that it is too early to make any real judgement, but liked the feel and performance in his first test with the 2013 car.
Earnhardt summed up his experience, “this car really gives me a lot of sensations that are similar to the old car that we ran ten years ago… it’s too early, so I’m trying not to get too excited or try to form too big of an opinion…”
Matt Kenseth, testing with his new team at Joe Gibbs Racing, also weighed in on the “Generation Six” car. Kenseth added to driver feedback saying “the cars feel good, they have a ton of grip. I feel like they had a lot of rear grip especially with that cambered rear-end… But overall seems like a lot more grip then when we raced (at Charlotte) in the fall.”
Kasey Kahne was “impressed right off the bat” with the 2013 car. He went on to say the car handled well with a lot of grip. Kahne also ran the car during two 15 lap heat races with fellow drivers and said he didn’t have any trouble passing others on the track. This is a good sign for competition in 2013 as NASCAR wants to create more passing on the race track.
Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, said the sport is “keeping an open mind” when listening to team feedback about the new car and says, feedback has been positive so far.
The next time the new car will be back on track will be January 10-12 at Daytona International Speedway for “Daytona Preseason Thunder” and teams will be back at Charlotte Motor Speedway January 17th and 18th as well.
Teams will learn many different things at Daytona given it is a restrictor plate track and the cars drive much differently than they do at Charlotte. But so far everybody is still optimistic that the “Generation Six” car will create better competition going forward.