In 2022, NASCAR introduced the Next Gen car — a radically new way to conceptualize how Cup Series vehicles are manufactured while remaining true to the sport‘s stock car roots. On the brink of the 2023 season, lessons learned from the Next Gen‘s inaugural season have sparked further innovation around the vehicle and its construction in order to enhance the safety for competitors behind the wheel.

Teams will utilize new center and rear clips on the vehicle‘s chassis, with both sections modified to better absorb rear impacts following crashes in 2022 that resulted in concussions for two playoff-eligible drivers.

Additionally, NASCAR will mandate new incident data collection systems on all Cup Series cars in 2023.

Some drivers will also wear mouthpiece sensors this season, continuing use from 2022. These sensors are used on a voluntary basis but Patalak noted an increase in the number of drivers who are electing to use them beginning in 2023.

More work has gone into evaluating the proper configuration of SFI-approved foam that surrounds the driver‘s head within the cockpit as well, specifically addressing the most effective heights, positioning and gaps that best protect the drivers‘ heads in a crash.

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