NASCAR is heating up, and some of the biggest speedways in the South are promising new races that take full advantage of that heat. Most recently, Dallas News touted the record 140-degree track temperature that would lead to very slick, very greasy tracks – a feast for the audience and for the talent of the drivers alike. With track expansions mooted across the country, that means a hell of a lot of new locations in which the NASCAR next gen stock R will need to keep up. Can it, and can it do it while keeping true to stock car tradition?
The next gen
Produced by Chevrolet, the next gen car has been touted as great for efficiency, affordability, and movement, according to NBC Sport. Harking back to a simpler time, it promises to have publicly accessible vehicle specifications. This means it’ll be familiar to consumers hoping to get their hands on a stock vehicle, and expert guides will be made to fit. The next gen car was bumped back due to coronavirus, with a 2022 release date mooted; with this base level of flexibility and suitability to different environments making it a popular idea. As the car comes back around, a few key changes in the handling of the motor vehicle will make it a more exciting prospect for NASCAR enthusiasts.
According to Auto Week, one of the most unique features of the next gen is the use of an independent rear suspension. This is something that’ll change the entire handling look of the vehicle, but perhaps make it a little more flexible. It means more flexibility on a variety of different handling surfaces and weather types, and overall a more exciting race for the spectator. For less talented drivers, this is a big challenge, but something to learn from; for top billing veterans, this is a huge opportunity. That fine handling and new ways of driving mean that more difficult racetracks can become more exciting for races coming up in 2022 and onwards.
Goodbye from Goodyear
Tire manufacturers Goodyear are moving away from the 15-inch tire to far bigger 18-inch low-profile sets. This should mean the car will be more exhilarating to spectate, and will once again change handling. Those big tires are usually good for acceleration and dry braking, meaning that those dry heat bouts will be more competitive. Conversely, you can expect to see more contested rounds when it comes to the grease and slick of hot tarmac or wet environments like some mooted northern expansion tracks. This combination with the tweaked rear axle means that races will, at the very least, be more engaging for spectators outside of the asphalt.
In that regard, the next gen cannot come soon enough. Changing weather conditions and new racetracks will bring with them more variety and choice in races, and the new vehicle will absolutely adapt to that. With 2022 rolling around, expect to enjoy a new and changing time in NASCAR built around this vehicle.