NASCAR: Bubba Wallace Testing Next-Gen Car at Richmond

NASCAR has tested out the Next-Gen car multiple times in the past year to plan for the 2022 [...]

NASCAR has tested out the Next-Gen car multiple times in the past year to plan for the 2022 season. Now Bubba Wallace will get behind the wheel for some laps of his own. He will head to Richmond Raceway and test out the new stock car on a short track.

NASCAR confirmed on Monday that the 23XI Racing driver would take part in a scheduled session on Wednesday. Wallace's original plan was to test out the new ride on two separate days, starting on Tuesday. However, the forecast calls for inclement weather, so NASCAR limited the session to only Wednesday. One interesting note provided by Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass is that the session is "not a Toyota-specific car" despite Wallace driving a Toyota Camry in the Cup Series.

Wallace will now be the second driver to test out the Next-Gen car at Richmond, following Austin Dillon's tests on Oct. 8 to 9, 2019. The Next-Gen car was most recently on the track in January for a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch was the driver during this session.

The Next-Gen car underwent testing last year at Daytona International Raceway. Roush Fenway Racing's Chris Buescher drove during the session. Additionally, Martin Truex Jr. and Busch headed to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval for the first test involving multiple cars on the track at the same time. Joey Logano and Erik Jones are also among the drivers who have tested the Next-Gen car at various tracks.

There will be multiple differences between the current Cup Series cars and the new version that will be part of the 2022 season and beyond. Chief among these changes is the switch to a new wheel. The stock cars will use an 18-inch aluminum wheel with Goodyear tires and a single lug hole in the center. This is three inches larger than the current tire on Cup Series cars.

According to John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, the move to a larger aluminum wheel was made in pursuit of providing more relevance and a stronger correlation to modern production cars. After considerable testing of the 18-inch wheel with the five-lug pattern, Probst and the NASCAR team felt that it was best to use a one-lug system.

"For us, we felt like from a standpoint of the wheel is that we wanted to get to an 18-inch wheel, an aluminum wheel," Probst said. "Once you get to an 18-inch aluminum wheel, the next step for us is to make sure that from a durability standpoint under racing conditions is that it will accept the durability that we need to finish races and then also finish multiple races. To do that, the single nut was our only option."