Many drivers went behind the wall with power steering issues in the Playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway
On Saturday night, the NASCAR Next Gen took the green on the highbanked short track of Bristol Motor Speedway. Despite a race earlier this season on the Bristol Dirt track, this was the first time the car saw the high loads on the concrete oval.
With 30 degrees of banking and little braking, Bristol is likely the highest load of any track on the schedule. It’s not the fastest but tight corners at high speeds, it brought the Next Gen car to it’s limits.
On lap 177 of 500, Bubba Wallace was forced behind the wall after a steering pump exploded. Not 10 laps later, teammate Ty Gibbs placed the other 23XI Racing machine behind the wall. Add another 10 laps and Martin Truex Jr found himself behind the wall with his Joe Gibbs Racing car.
The steering box is one of the many stock parts on the Next Gen car. Those parts come from a single manufacturer and are identical from team to team.
Martin Truex Jr comments
“It blew the seal out and pushed all the fluid out on the right front,” Martim Truex Jr stated from the garage area.
“Just unbeleivable. What did Harvick say? Crappy parts?”
“I don’t know,” Truex stated.
Playoff driver Denny Hamlin was one of the few Toyota machines to finish the race at Bristol.
“Mechanical stuff with this Next Gen and wrecks are really the X-factor in moving on (in the playoffs),” Denny Hamlin stated.
Scott Miller comments on steering pump issues at Bristol
“Bristol is definitely a unique load case, and some things cropped up with the steering that weren’t expected,” Miller told SiriusXM.
“But honestly, no excuse, but, you know, with the newness of this car and the newness of everything, I think that it’s not acceptable to have problems, but it’s probably part of the learning process for us all.”
“All the teams and OEMs were involved in the RFP process when we chose the parts so, everybody’s got a stake in this, and it’s not just NASCAR choosing quote-unquote crappy parts.”
“Well, with every part of this car actually being a new part and a new design, I think historically, in racing and in any walk of life, when you do something completely new with a departure, there’s a learning curve,” Miller added.
“So we’re in that learning curve, and, you know, working really hard to make sure that everything works. And I think for the most part, it has. We did have some steering issues at Bristol. That is, again, a part that was that was chosen through the RFP process, and it is team serviceable.”
Miller added, “So you know, that’s where we are right now. Are we looking to improve on when we have problems? We absolutely 100% are, every single day.”