“I don’t like it,” Kyle Busch says of the new NASCAR rules for 2022
For 2022, the game will totally change. It’s still up for debate if that will be a good or bad thing.
NASCAR has always been a sport that required big pockets. For 2022, speed in itself will seen deeper in the field. But, everyone will have the same speed, the advantages will narrow.
Setups will be the only thing that makes the cars fast or slow. The gap between the slow cars and the fast cars, will be a much smaller gap.
In years past, teams spend countless millions developing a chassis that’s slightly different than the competition. Teams have different cars that work better or certain tracks.
The smaller teams, they don’t have that budget. They run cars that are slightly older or slightly less developed. That’s speed that can’t be bought, with the exception of an expensive team alliance.
For 2022, every car, for every team, will be the same. It’s a spec chassis. Instead of a smaller team needing to develop their own speed, now they’ll have the equipment, out of the box.
Is that good for the sport? When cars are different, it creates comers and goers. It creates passing.
Making the cars the same will certainly bunch up the field and create a scenario of closer racing. But, will they be able to pass a car that’s identical?
These are the questions that drivers wonder for 2022. Nobody knows what to expect, but we can speculate…
Kyle Busch talks the Next Gen car
“I don’t like it,” Kyle Busch said via the I Am Athlete podcast.
“You take out the craftsmanship of the manufactures, the teams and all that sort of stuff or how you build speed. Like, we might spend $10 million in building chassis’. The next guy might spend $10 million in building bodies. So, you create separation.”
“You create fast cars and slow cars. There’s the same thing in drivers, good drivers and bad drivers. They’re trying to create parity, which I get.”
“Some would argue that the good drivers are still going to be the good drivers, they’re going to excel. Yeah, I believe in that. But, it’s going to be harder and slower to do.”
“The more the cars are equal, the harder it is for us to pass, make moves and put on a good show.”
Kyle Busch doesn’t like NASCAR stages
This isn’t the first time that NASCAR has changed the game. Stage racing was introduced in NASCAR for the 2017 season.
Breaking the race into three of four segments gave the TV partners a guaranteed break in the action. It allowed them to sell commercials, when there wasn’t action on the track.
It also removed the phantom cautions. NASCAR no longer needed to throw cautions for invisible debris, just for the sake of bunching up the field and resetting the race. Now, a reset was built into the format.
Beyond that, drivers are no longer able to just ride out the early portions of a long race. Points are available, throughout the race.
“Years ago, they introduced these stages. So, it cuts up the race a little bit,” Kyle Busch says of stage racing.
“We get awarded points at the end of these stages. It’s meaningful to us drivers to excel throughout the whole race rather than just at the end of the race. There’s more pressure to do better throughout the whole race because those points they help you throughout the entire year. If you win stages, those points help you throughout the playoffs.”
“That sort of stuff was to entice the fans. Get them into following an entire event.”
“Honestly, I don’t know that it’s done a whole lot. I think we’re pretty flat.”
“Back in 2000-2001, right before Dale’s death, that was the high time. TV ratings were boom. Now, we’re just kinda floating around, below that.”
The Kyle Busch rule
Kyle Busch has 97 wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 61 more in the NASCAR Truck Series. In recent years, NASCAR has limited his extracurricular events during NASCAR race weekends.
Recent performance from Kyle Busch has been a bit of a slump. He only claimed 1 win during 2020, down from 5 the year prior. Kyle thinks the removal of track time, in general, has played a part in that.
“Since 2008, I’ve pretty much run 30 Xfinity Series races, 15 truck races and 38 Cup races. That’s 85 races, let’s call it,” Kyle Busch says.
Now, if you’re a Cup Series driver for over 3 years, then you’re only allowed to run 5 truck races and 5 more Xfinity races.
“It’s the Kyle Busch rule. Because I was out there winning everything in the lower divisions, and the upper division. There was a year I won 24 races across all three series, that’s a record. The next closest guy is Kevin Harvick, I think he won 12.”
“They kinda took a little bit away from me. But, I didn’t really slow down winning Cup races. I still won 5-8 races a year in ’16, ’17 and ’18.
“In 2019, I won four races in the first 10 races. Then, didn’t win again until the championship race at the end of the year. It gave me my five wins but it felt like death, not winning from June until November.”
“In 2020, they took away practice. You’re not out there running two hours at a time dialing your car in.”
Busch says the team might unload with an 80% car. But, in practice, he could get it to 90%. Now, the lack of practice time makes it harder to setup the car to his liking.