The team that benefits the most from the Next Gen Car

The stated goal of NASCAR’s Next Gen car was to level the playing field in competition, and mid-range teams are looking to take advantage of that change.

No team in the NASCAR Cup Series garage has improved from 2021 to 2022 with the Next Gen car more than Trackhouse Racing Team, which went from one car to two ahead of the new season.

The team co-owned by former NASCAR driver Justin Marks and international music superstar Pitbull made its 2021 debut with Daniel Suarez driving the #99 Chevrolet.

Suarez had some memorable moments last season, especially in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway when he led 58 laps and finished in fourth place.

But in the aftermath, the No. 99 team struggled. Suarez finished the season in 25th place in the league standings with just one top five and three other top 10s.

But after acquiring Chip Ganassi Racing in the offseason, Trackhouse Racing Team emerged in 2022 with strong speed and racing.

In seven races, Suarez and the No.99 team have two top-five finishes, already doubling last year’s total, and an additional top-10 result. Suarez battled for the lead late in the season. Auto Club Speedway before defending champion Kyle Larson took the win, and he also led laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

His new teammate, Ross Chastain, was even more impressive in the #1 Chevrolet. After two tough races to open the season, Chastain scored four straight top-three finishes. He has already led 156 laps, more than his total for all of 2021 while still at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Both team cars unloaded with winning speed at the Circuit of the Americas. Suarez, who started in the front row, led the first 15 laps en route to a stage win before mechanical problems hampered his finish and he had to settle for 24th.

Chastain then led 31 laps, earning his and the team’s first Cup Series victory in a thrilling and controversial finale.

It is quite possible that the Cup Series will have more than 16 winners in the regular season, since seven winners have already won in seven races and there are still 19 races to go.

But Chastain will be locked into the playoffs if that doesn’t happen. This would mark Trackhouse Racing Team’s first playoff appearance, a significant milestone for the new team.

Chastain and Suarez are now sixth and 14th respectively in the points standings, and the No. 1 and No. 99 Chevrolets are ready to compete for spots on the playoff grid.

The million dollar question is, can the Trackhouse Racing team maintain their early season pace, or will they fall victim to a summer slump like they did in 2021?

Comments are closed.