Phoenix sees emphasis on brakes, sequential gearbox

Sean Gardner | Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Bozi Tatarevic is a professional race mechanic and pit crew member. He will provide technical analysis for throughout the 2022 season.

The Next Gen car made its short-track debut earlier this year at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but is now set to see its first points run on a shorter track and at higher speeds we’ll so see the cars have proven themselves in close races. The teams tested the Next Gen car in Phoenix in January and today’s practice showed that the data from the test helps the drivers get a better handle on how to control the cars here compared to the laps we saw during this is.

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Brake lines

One of the first things that look different on the cars in Phoenix that we haven’t seen on the longer tracks is that the brake ducts at the front will be open to allow for better brake cooling since the brakes will be a lot more used here than they do on the longer trails. Each OEM has approved brake duct areas where they are permitted to place up to two four-inch holes for brake ducts on either side of the front bumper cover. Unlike the grille, the brake duct inlets can be taped off so teams can control the flow.

Brake coolingThese ducts lead to the new, larger brake assembly which should allow drivers to brake with less effort compared to the previous generation car, but will be a new experience due to the pedal moving towards the floor. Drivers will likely use their dash-mounted brake bias dials as a manipulation tool in the race, as these dials alter the percentage of braking sent to the front versus the rear of the car.


Set of gears 11:35 11:39 9:39
Report 3.182 3.545 4.333

Outside of brake bias, we’ll also likely see riders using the shifter for this sequential gearbox, as we saw several back and forth between fourth and fifth gear during testing. Phoenix uses the 11:39 “AB” gear set for the transaxle setup which uses a 19:24 down ratio and has a 3.545 ratio. This gear combination allows both fourth and fifth gear to be track usable here and allows the transaxle to be a tool, especially when the tires wear.

It’s been an exciting season with many different cars coming out on top in the races we’ve seen so far and any new factors introduced to a track like this will likely see that trend continue which should make thrilling race tomorrow (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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