When we last spoke, NASCAR got dirty at Bristol during the first dirt race for the NASCAR Cup Series in over 50 years. FOX Sports received a 1.8% viewership rating, clocking in around 3.11 million viewers for the race.
In the past couple weeks, NASCAR has been busy with testing some new things. For starters, officials have continued testing their new generation 7 stock car (they’re calling it the NASCAR Next Gen car).
Additionally, they tested a rain tire for flat short tracks, which is HUGE news. But before we get to that, let’s talk NASCAR Next Gen.
Originally scheduled to release in 2021 but pushed back due to COVID-19, the NASCAR Next Generation car is supposed to be the latest and greatest thing the NASCAR R&D Center has worked on.
They’ve been testing and producing this car for nearly two years now and it’ll introduce some new features to the NASCAR world.
NASCAR is building off its Gen 6 car that they run now, which has been a big success in my opinion. Although the Gen 6 car isn’t a true “stock” car, it certainly looks like it and that is what NASCAR was going for back in 2013.
Now, going into 2022 when the Next Gen car will be run for the first time, it’ll continue the individual manufacturer looks (Toyota, Chevy, Ford), but it’ll have enhanced aerodynamics and downforce features. NASCAR is hoping those two things will make for better racing on all tracks.
Additionally, NASCAR is adding new technical features, like a change in the gearbox and lug-nut mounting.
Traditionally, NASCAR has run a “H” pattern gearbox. That pattern gearbox is one of the oldest patterns in history, and NASCAR has almost always used it.
Starting in 2022, the gearbox will be a sequential manual transmission (5 forward speeds + 1 reverse). Other series like U.S. Legend Cars use a sequential gearbox.
NASCAR also currently uses a five lug-nut star pattern to hold the tires on the car. Starting in ‘22, NASCAR will change in a single lug-nut. This is done because of the new tire rim design. A lighter rim only allows for a single lug.
Other series around the world use a single lug-nut, such as Formula 1 and Indy car. NASCAR has said that the single lug-nut won’t change the amount of time it takes to pit the car.
NASCAR’s Next Gen car will debut in 2022, but the manufacturers are planning to reveal their designs on May 3, 2021.
Along with Next Gen testing, NASCAR shocked the world by announcing that it would be testing wet weather tires for short tracks.
These tires would be used after it rains, not during rain. The intention is to get the race restarted sooner compared to waiting for the track to dry after it rained.
NASCAR made it clear that these tires would only be for short tracks such as Martinsville, Richmond, New Hampshire, and Phoenix.
NASCAR tested these tires at Martinsville on April 1 and they said that the test was successful.
If NASCAR adds these tires into the series, it would be great. We would no longer need to wait for the track to dry, meaning rain delays would be cut in half. We would only need to wait for the rain to go through and then we start racing.
NASCAR has said that they are going to test these tires a little more and then move forward.