It has been 1o races since #45-Kurt Busch was forced to step out of the car following an accident a Pocono that resulted in a concussion. Last week at Texas, an accident by #48-Alex Bowman gave him a concussion and he will also set out tomorrow’s race at Talladega. Many drivers have complained this year that hits are harder in the Next Gen car than they were in the old car. Safety issues and complaints have continued to build the last few week and are a hot topic this weekend.
Denny Hamlin has called for NASCAR to restart the Next Gen car from scratch.
The driver/owner doesn‘t believe there‘s an easy fix to alleviate the issues from impact occurring when drivers hit the wall—or each other–with the latest iteration of the Cup car.
“The car needs to be redesigned; it needs a full redesign,” Hamlin said. “It can still be called Next Gen, but it needs to be redesigned everywhere—front, middle, rear, competition. The whole thing needs to be redesigned. We‘ve got a Martinsville race coming up and it‘s going to be tough. This thing is going to be exposed about how bad the race is and that‘s just part of it.
“Competition, safety, we‘d like to have it all better. But certainly, we just took a step back in safety and competition this year.”
— Racin Boys —
Chase Elliott was as frustrated and forthcoming with his thoughts as ever over the safety of the Next Gen car on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Elliott, usually reserved with his opinions, didn‘t hold back with his answers this time. Each question was answered thoroughly and thoughtfully, repeatedly expressing bewilderment that the sport is dealing with such issues.
“I don‘t feel like we should have ever been in this position to need to go forward [with the car],” Elliott said. “We should have gone forward with a new opportunity at a new car, in my opinion. You have all these years of experience and knowledge and time of racing and crashing these cars and teams working on them and building them, and it just blows me away that we can have something new in 2022 that offers all this technology and all this time and experience of so many just super talented people in this sport and we allow to go backward, especially with safety.
“I think it‘s just super surprising to me that we allowed that to happen, but we did, and now it‘s just about how do we go forward from here making sure we make the right choices to improve what we have and keep things like what happened to Alex this week from happening, and what happened to Kurt.”
— Racer —
With the new perspective of a NASCAR Cup Series owner and driver, Brad Keselowski has not been as outspoken as his peers about the issues surrounding the Next Gen car.
“I‘m sure it affects my view, absolutely,” Keselowski said Saturday. “I get to sit in meetings that I didn‘t sit in before, where I have a better context of things that are happening. There‘s more transparency for sure being in that spot.”
“There are people working on it,” the 2012 series champion said. “It‘d be one thing if there was a magic wand with a solution that just wasn‘t being applied. It‘d be one thing if nobody was working on anything. But there are people working on things right now and there are projects underway.
— Racer —
Greg Ives seems far more interested in finding solutions to safety issues with the Next Gen car than casting blame.
And if there is blame to cast, Ives made clear this week he would shoulder some of the responsibility.
Asked why he appeared to want to take on some of the blame, Ives, Bowman‘s crew chief, said: “Ultimately, I think it‘s for me, it‘s all about togetherness as far I‘m in the sport with NASCAR, with Goodyear (and) with the race teams. I‘m part of the race teams.
“Ultimately it‘s my job to make sure my driver, Alex, is put in the safest situation possible. For me, decisions I made probably throughout the Texas race, ultimately cost us a crash probably and thinking I could have done something different.”
— Motorsport —