The NASCAR Cup Series finally hit the track for official practice ahead of the Daytona 500 on Tuesday, Feb. 15 — and the series is already putting new regulations in place to prevent the skew of its Next-Gen cars.
If you need a refresher on what skew is and how it’s been impacting the new NASCAR machines, we’ve covered that here on Jalopnik. And why spend words explaining it all over again when I wrapped it up so succinctly before?
Basically, skew refers to a set up where the car is set to run at an angle. The front end looks like it’s pointing in a different direction than the direction the car is actually going, which gives the whole thing a sort of crab-walk look. Usually, the rear axle is mounted at an angle when compared to the chassis. For oval tracks, that skew conveys aerodynamic advantages and reduces the amount of turning input required to go left, which makes the cars easier to drive and, crucially, which makes them go faster.
As you can imagine, that skew popped back up on Tuesday, when the Next Gen cars returned to the track to start practicing for the series’ first official race of the year. You can see Kevin Harvick running a serious amount of skew below:
Harvick wasn’t the only one, either — plenty of other cars were running similar levels of skew, some more obvious than others. You can see Alex Bowman doing something similar in an earlier session below:
NASCAR let the teams run their cars as-is for the first two practice sessions before it leaped into action.
Of course, NASCAR responded in kind with some rules and regulations dictating the amount of skew allowed during the upcoming event:
In the grand scheme of things, those changes are fairly minimal — enough to reduce the impact of the skew during the race but not enough, as Bob Pockrass writes, to totally nullify anything the skewed teams learned in practice. Busch Pole Qualifying takes place tonight, which will give us a look at how drastically these changes will alter the look of the cars.