NASCAR Sprint Cup organizers are optimistic that the new Gen-6 car will deliver better racing than its predecessor, following preseason testing.
Last year there was concern at the number of processional races and events decided by fuel mileage. After group tests with the new car at Charlotte and Daytona, NASCAR's vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said data and drivers' feedback suggested it was a racier machine.
"With the input that we've got about aerodynamics and how cars are around each other, we set out to make a car better than last year. Our goal was to start better than we left the last car, and we do have better numbers on the car. I think the drivers' confidence that they can hustle the car a little bit more will be there once they get their setups fine-tuned."
Cup series director John Darby added that there had been a determined effort to address the Gen-5 car's shortcomings in close racing.
"There's just a whole list of things, and all of those were in an effort to close up the competition a little," he said.
Veteran driver Jeff Burton, who has raced at Cup level since 1993, believes the changes are paying off, particularly the increase in downforce.
"My theory is based on years of experience and watching what's going on with this sport, how it's evolved," Burton said. "The better the cars are stuck in the race track, the closer the cars run to each other. Especially on big tracks, the better the grip is, the closer the action can be."
Darby was particularly pleased with the Daytona tests, where it appeared the unpopular tandem drafting of recent years had been eradicated.
Asked if he planned any tweaks to the technical rules prior to next month's Daytona 500, Darby replied: "Hell no, I wouldn't change anything. I just can't wait to get back there."