The sights and sounds surrounding Charlotte Motor Speedway Monday morning, afternoon and evening brought that all-too-familiar feeling. It‘s the feel of a looming NASCAR season, and, in particular, the dawn of getting back into a routine. Such was the case for NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers on Jan. 30.

The driver practice sessions around the 1.5-mile track served another purpose, too. More specifically, a mechanical one — competition officials changed the rear-end housing on Xfinity cars to eliminate skew. A skew that creates “crabbing” can lead to cars running at an angle that gives the illusion the car is moving diagonally.

After his first full-time season in the Xfinity Series last year, Austin Hill offered technical differences during the test run, including the difference in throttling and corner entry.

“As I get into the cross center of the corner, I feel like last year I could kind of like lean into the right rear tire a little bit more and kind of yaw it out and be able to pick up throttle and drive off the right rear,” Hill said. “So far in the test this year, as I pick up throttle, it kind of just gets the right rear out of the race track and kind of loses lateral grip. I just don‘t feel like I have that stability to kind of lean on the right rear tires.

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