Erik Jones is scheduled to drive the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen car in its third on-track test Wednesday and Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Next Gen car is set to make its competition debut in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. This week’s test is the first at a 1.5-mile track.
Select grandstands will be open for viewing purposes to fans who have purchased a ticket to the Dixie Vodka 400, Miami’s 2020 event on March 22. Testing will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, with a lunch break splitting up the morning and afternoon sessions. Weather will dictate the specific schedule.
A test vehicle first hit the track in 2019. Austin Dillon piloted the prototype built by Richard Childress Racing in collaboration with NASCAR back in October at Richmond Raceway. Joey Logano then had a run with it in December at Phoenix Raceway, home of the 2020 season finale.
“I really enjoyed driving the car,” Dillon said after his test. “I like the way that it looks, you can see the finished product down the road. The OEMs can make the body look really good, like a street car that you see on the road today. When it comes together and they all get their cars on the track, we’re going to have something to work with that also looks really good.”
In his 2019 “State of the Sport” address, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said a big point of Next Gen is to “put the ‘stock’ back in stock car,” meaning the new car should better resemble its highway-going counterparts. Of course, it’s also meant to improve competition.
“When the car gets loose with this Next Gen car, it doesn’t come back until the driver steers the car back — it doesn’t fix itself. And that puts it more in the driver’s hands. And I like that piece,” Logano said. “It’s going to be challenging, but I think you’ll see more mistakes on the race track, which makes, in my opinion, better racing and more passing opportunities.”