CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave NASCAR's new car a solid review in his first test drive, putting the 2013 model ahead of its predecessor.
The buildup to the previous model's launch in 2007 was mixed as drivers were lukewarm to the "Car of Tomorrow." Kyle Busch won the debut race at Bristol and panned the car in his victory celebration, forever tainting its image with fans.
The car was finally retired in last month's season finale, and NASCAR spent this entire year developing the 2013 model that will debut in February.
On Tuesday, 16 drivers tested the car at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including Earnhardt Jr., who said he was very impressed with its drivability.
NASCAR is banking on the "Gen 6" car to improve the on-track product.