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Truex hopes Toyota benefits from NASCAR technical changes for 2023

Former NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. hopes Toyota will take advantage of technical changes to the cars in 2023, having been “lacking in some areas” last season.

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops Toyota

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

NASCAR has made a raft of technical changes to its Next Gen car for 2023, with the focus being on changes to rear and center clips on safety grounds, both sections modified to better absorb rear impacts following crashes in 2022 that resulted in concussions for two playoff-eligible drivers.

As well as this, NASCAR allowed all three of its manufacturers to revise the noses, hoods and louvres on their cars for 2023, with aerodynamic and track testing all being signed off ahead of the season, which started with the Busch Light Clash at the LA Coliseum.

“Quite a few changes going into 2023,” explained NASCAR’s Cup Series managing director Brad Moran. “The cars have a slightly different look, the noses and cooling louvres on the hoods are different.”

While the quarter-mile event in LA didn’t put any demands on the aero side of the cars, the upcoming Daytona 500 will be the first test of these new designs, which feature flatter noses to help drafting on superspeedways and larger cooling vents in the hoods.

Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 features the biggest visual nose change, with the faux headlights and grille section being much more pronounced and positioned lower down in 2023. This region on the Ford Mustang has been pushed wider towards the edge of the fenders, while the Toyota TRD Camry’s main change is at the edge of the front bumper towards the bottom corner.

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford

Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops Toyota

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops Toyota

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / NKP / Motorsport Images

Where the Toyota does differ most is in the hood region, which now sports large louvres rather than the far smaller open air ducts that it used last season. The Ford’s louvres are not raised as they were in 2022, but are much wider than before, while the Chevys look the most similar to what was used last year.

After winning the Clash in LA, Truex is hopeful that Toyota has made a step forward from last year, when teammate Christopher Bell was the only one of its drivers to make the Playoffs.

“I think from the Toyota side of things that we were lacking in some areas last year,” said Truex. “NASCAR changed some rules and I feel like we are all closer together now. I think that’s going to be plus for us because we were lacking a lot at the short tracks and road courses, to be specific.

“A lot of good things for us on paper, but you’ve got to see what happens on the track. Last year, I felt comfortable in the car in just a few weeks, and then it was all about how we apply it, and we have a great team that works hard on figuring all of that out.”

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