NASCAR’s Next Gen Car Facing Safety Criticism Ahead of Cup Series Playoff Race in Talladega

Lincoln, Ala. – The NASCAR Cup Series features a generation of seasoned, seasoned drivers who have gone years behind the wheel of a cup car without worrying about their personal safety. Coming into the Cup is another generation of young drivers who never have to worry.

But after generations of NASCAR racing felt safe to the point of being utterly sterile, the mood of the highest levels of stock car racing is being colored by a rediscovered sense of vulnerability and anxiety – and the idea That chance of not climbing back from a cup car in one piece is higher than in many years.

Joy Logano said, “I can’t say that in my career I have had the same thoughts that I’m doing right now.” “I’ve been here for 15 years, and things are concerning – obviously some great improvements – but I’ve never seen three drivers out at the same time. So you’re a little worried about that.”

Allegations that NASCAR’s Next Gen car has issues keeping the driver safe and preventing injury have gone from a rumble to a full roar after a pair of injuries at last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway . Cody Ware suffered a leg fracture after a horrific collision with an exterior wall, and he has been on crutches and in a boot in the garage area even after being medically cleared to race by NASCAR. However, more worrying was the fact that due to a minor incident Alex Bowman is being sidelined with concussion-like symptoms — The second driver after which will be conceived in the next gen car Pocono. Kurt Bush got such an injury,

Those injuries come ahead of a playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, where the risk of violent crashes that test the limits of both mechanical and physical endurance exceeds NASCAR races anywhere else.

Speaking to the media on Saturday morning, drivers expressed a variety of views on the subject — a big deal being how NASCAR, whose track record on safety has been spotless since its final death 21 years ago, lags behind. And how can one go to that area.

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Chase Elliott said, “I don’t think we should have been in this position in the beginning, needed to move on. We should have moved on with a new opportunity and a new car.” “You have all these years of experience and knowledge and time to race and crash and build these cars and the teams that work on them, and it just blows me away that we might have something new, In 2022, that provides all this technology and all this time and experience of so many talented people in this game, and we let it go backwards.

“Especially with security – it’s pretty amazing to me that we let that happen. But we did, and now it’s just about how we move forward from here to make sure we have what we have.” We’re making the right choices to fix that and keep things like what happened to Alex this week and what happened to Kurt.”

The issue has been the toughness of the Next Gen car, which is nearing the end of its first full season of competition. In development, the next gen car was designed to be more able to withstand intrusions into the driver’s cockpit, such as when Ryan Newman hit the driver’s side roof and window area during the 2020 Daytona 500.

But while the car is better equipped to withstand the extreme impacts that can seriously injure or even kill a driver, the tradeoff has been that the driver sustaining more physical force from minor impacts – in particular the rear end of the car, which does not crumple easily when the car hits a wall.

The process of fixing the safety issues of the next gen car is already underway. Fox Sports’ Bob Pokras reported Saturday That NASCAR is doing a crash-test update of the car’s rear clip and rear bumper structure at a facility in Ohio next week. Friday’s meeting between NASCAR and its Driver Advisory Council was also a major point of discussion on Saturday morning. But making a next gen car better from a safety point of view is not as easy as dismantling it further or replacing a few parts and pieces.

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Chase Brisco pointed out that in the design of the next gen car, the fuel cell is located between the rear clip and the bumper structure – meaning there is a high risk of fire if those areas give too much. And in addition, there is also the potential for change for the sake of change because the change is really effective and makes drivers safer.

“You don’t want to do anything to make it happen. We really need to verify that it will be better and not worse,” Briscoe said. “I mean, I don’t think we need to do something to make it happen. We really need to go ahead and make sure it’s really going to get better, and I think those things take time.” .

“But if we can do something this year that’s definitely better, then yes, we need to do it and we need to do it as quickly as possible. We don’t have to hurt people.”

Many of the sport’s most experienced drivers have drawn their swords straight into NASCAR, one of the most outspoken is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin on Saturday continued a series of recent allegations against NASCAR competition officials, outright New leadership at one point and demand for a complete redesign of the next generation car Reprimanding the sanctioning body for ignoring red flags raised by drivers in the development of the car.

“We were late to the party,” Hamlin said. “We brought these concerns up with NASCAR last winter… We threw up red flags a year ago, and they just didn’t respond. They just kept insisting that this car be on the racetrack at all costs. Must be. Absolutely cost.

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“…they listen and they’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear so you feel like they’re doing something. But in the end, they have more problems than people to handle.”

Any changes to the next gen car will not happen overnight before it is flagged off at Sunday’s race in Talladega. And when the green signal is lifted, the race will proceed as normal without any drastic action or performance from the drivers as suggested in internet rumors during the week – An accident at Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race that resulted in second-degree burns to the body of driver Jordan Anderson It was a chilling reminder that racing can be dangerous no matter how safe, tried and tested a vehicle may be.

Given that Sunday’s race will come without any assurances that not every driver in the field will be the next to be injured in the next-generation car, a reality that is made even more troubling than the amount of things one driver can do outside Superspeedway. Racing controls. This means that the only thing any driver can focus on is something they can control both behind the wheel and from the driver’s seat.

“I’ve put in more effort this year to make sure my headrest is right, the stuff I can control,” Logano said. “I can’t build the car, I can’t design the car and change its structure and those kinds of things to make it better. But I can control my seat, my gear, my stuff. So I’ve got to just worry about that stuff and just go to the races.”