Kurt Busch: “I’m that brain emoji where my brain is blowing off.”
Atlanta Motor Speedway has just concluded a two-day test for the NASCAR Next Gen car. It’s the first time the new car has touched the reconfigured track.
Banking has been increased from 24 to 28 degrees. The racing surface has also been narrowed. The test was for Goodyear Racing. They brought multiple compounds and various stagger combinations to run.
This was far more than a repave. Drivers are basically looking at a brand new race track…
Chris Buescher comments
“There’s a ton of new here. It’s probably not even fair to go comparing to the old Atlanta at this point, there’s just so many variables in it,” said Chris Buescher, driver of the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.
“Goodyear has brought a control tire and then different options, whether that be softer compounds or different staggers. That’s something we’ve been working with a lot with this new car; the rear independent suspension, the transaxle, and everything has really changed a lot of that feel. I think some of the low-profile tire has changed it as well.”
“All the cars, one from each manufacturer, go through the same tires and the same tests so we can take all that data and put it together.”
Buescher added, “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun coming back for the race. I am looking forward to it. I think they did a good job with the ideas that they’ve implemented to create an exciting race weekend.”
Kurt Busch comments
Kurt Busch drove to victory lane in 2021 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I’m that brain emoji where my brain is blowing off,” added Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 45 for 23XI Racing. “There’s a lot to digest. It’s an engineering marvel to bank a racetrack with this much banking and keep the turns this sharp and to have it as smooth as it is. They did a really good job.”
“It was exciting to go out on track and be in a different environment, but yet here at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” said Busch. “It’s completely changed with the banking, the fresh asphalt. It’s a clean slate and the Next Gen car is a clean slate and so (Wednesday) was a big day with excitement and anticipation of how the track would drive and how it would feel.”
“Once we got out there in a group the pace picked up by over a second having the cars draft together,” said Busch. “There’s a lot of speed that you have by yourself and things were amplified way more than what we expected when we had just three cars drafting with each other.”
“In NASCAR we have our Daytona and Talladega style draft and those are on 2.5- and 2.66-mile tracks,” explained Busch. “This is a mile-and-a-half. Things are going to be moving quicker. You’re going to be digesting things much faster.”
“Two-wide will be no problem. Three-wide – yeah, you’ll have that when you have the right opportunity with hot tires, the grip level, and when people are more comfortable with their setups.”
Busch added, “So it’s just going to ramp up and get more aggressive as we get more and more laps on track.”
Ross Chastain comments
“I don’t think that every driver in the series was signing up to do this tire test, but I was,” said Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 1 for Trackhouse Racing.
“I was excited and I wanted to come learn and see it for myself, walk the track, feel it in the racecar and see: what do we need to do when we come back here? We’re going to race here twice – what do we need to do?”
“It’s going to be maybe like Daytona before they repaved it. Before (they repaved Daytona) guys had to have good handling cars as well as a superspeedway car that would draft good.”
Chastain added, “You’re going to have to have a combination of that here. You’re going to have to have a lot of friends and I probably need to get to work on that because I don’t know that I have that many!”