The 2022 season kicks off Saturday, February 6th at the “World’s Greatest Stadium,” the LA Coliseum. The inaugural event marks the first time in over 40 years that the Clash has been raced at a track other than Daytona. The 0.25-mile asphalt oval was constructed over the facility’s existing football field and marks the shortest track that NASCAR has competed on in the modern era. Since opening in 1923, the venue has hosted many marquee sporting events including 3 NFL Championships, 2 Super Bowls, and 2 Summer Olympic games. Although the Clash is a non-points event, it is the competitive debut of the Next Gen car – featuring a fleet of redesigned Ford Mustangs.
In addition to the one-off race at LA Coliseum, both NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series have each added one track to the 2022 schedule, along with several other lineup changes. On June 4th, the Xfinity series ventures to the Pacific Northwest for the first time at Portland International Raceway. The next day, June 5th, the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois makes its first ever NASCAR Cup Series debut. Auto Club Speedway makes its long-awaited return after a 2 year break due to COVID-19. All the previous 2021 track additions will return in 2022 including COTA, Nashville, Road America, Bristol Dirt, and the Indianapolis Road Course. This year’s Bristol Dirt race will take place under the lights as opposed to last year’s daytime race. The season still opens with the famed Daytona 500 and ends in Phoenix.
Ford Performance and Roush Yates Engines are powering 15 full time NASCAR Cup series drivers this season: Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher with Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano with Team Penske, Harrison Burton with Wood Brothers Racing, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almriola, Chase Briscoe, and Cole Custer with Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland with Front Row Motorsports, Garrett Smithley and Cody Ware with Rick Ware Racing, and BJ McLeod with Live Fast Motorsports. The 3 full-time Xfinity drivers being powered are Riley Herbst with Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan Sieg with Ryan Sieg Racing, and Joe Graf Jr. with SS GreenLight Racing.
The long-awaited Next Gen car that was revealed in 2021 will see competition starting with this year’s Clash. The look and feel of the car has been redesigned to replicate the street version of the world’s best selling sports car, the Ford Mustang. The new design of the car has lowered the greenhouse, shortened the deck lid, and widened the track width to give the car more of a coupe look. Upgraded specs to match modern street car technology include a new independent rear suspension, rack and pinion steering, and larger brakes. A new transaxle combines the transmission and rear gears into one package to allow for electrification in the future. Hood louvers allow for maximization of engine performance independent of aerodynamics. The new composite material of the car is more durable, front and rear bumpers allow for increased safety, and both the front and rear clips bolt on to the center section for easy serviceability and repair.
For the 2022 NASCAR season, NASCAR Cup Series has established a 670 and 510 HP package. The 510 HP package will be utilized at Daytona, Talladega, and Atlanta – while the 670 HP package will be utilized at all other tracks. As NASCAR has opened up engine development in several areas this year, our team has been hard at work during the offseason to maximize power, performance, and reliability.