Michael Reaves | Getty Images
Michael Reaves | Getty Images

Next Gen testing to resume at Dover; SHR’s Custer set for driving duties

A test of the Next Gen car for NASCAR’s Cup Series is scheduled Monday and Tuesday at Dover International Speedway following a Cup Series doubleheader weekend.

Competition officials confirmed Monday that Stewart-Haas Racing rookie Cole Custer will make laps in the prototype at the 1-mile Delaware track, putting more production parts into use and testing the high-load conditions of the concrete high banks. It’s the first test for the Next Gen model since the COVID-19 outbreak in March.

NASCAR officials announced April 2 that the Next Gen car’s Cup Series debut would be delayed from 2021 to 2022 as the industry weathered the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak also scratched a March 16-17 test scheduled with SHR’s Clint Bowyer at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Additionally, competition officials revealed that IMSA team Action Express Racing is making laps Monday with its own Next Gen prototype at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The team test is being conducted with reigning series champ Felipe Nasr and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, who won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the 3.61-mile Daytona Road Course layout.

“The Action Express test allows a sports car team to learn about the architecture of the Next Gen car and explore any opportunities to adopt new technologies,” said John Probst, NASCAR Senior VP of Innovation and Racing Development. “The test also benefits NASCAR — it helps us check the durability of parts, helps with tire development and gives us data from a road course test.”

Previous tests of the Next Gen car include Austin Dillon at Richmond (Oct. 18-19, 2019), Joey Logano at Phoenix (Dec. 9-10, 2019), Erik Jones at Homestead-Miami (Jan. 15-16) and William Byron at Auto Club Speedway (March 2-3).

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