Alex Bowman is the latest NASCAR driver to set on the sidelines with concussion-like symptoms
At the start of the 2022 season, NASCAR launched the Next Gen car. The chassis is a spec machine, identical from team to team.
The idea of the car was to level the playing field. And like each generation, the safety is also improved.
The data says the Next Gen car takes impacts better than any previous machine. However, all year, drivers have said that impacts feel harder than ever before. Is the data lying?
Back in July, Kurt Busch spun during qualifying at Pocono Raceway. He backed it into the fence off turn three.
Kurt Busch hasn’t returned to the No. 45 since. He’s been sidlined at he recovers from concusion-like symptoms. Ty Gibbs has been driving the car ever since.
And last weekend, NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway. Alex Bowman was in a near independent, nearly identical to Busch.
The impact didn’t appear to be that brutal. However, directly after the impact Bowman jumped on the team radio to say, “Done. I can’t drive the rest of the day.”
Yet, Bowman finished the race. However, he’s visited the medical team ahead of this weekend’s race at Talladega he’s pulled himself from the seat of the No. 48 for Talladega Superspeedway.
“After undergoing medical evaluation due to concussion-like symptoms, I will not be driving the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in Talladega,” the statement opened.
Denny Hamlin comments on injuries
Denny Hamlin is the co-owner of 23Xi Racing. Kurt Busch, who sits on the sidelines, is one of the teams drivers.
On Thursday, Hamlin addressed the impact of NASCAR’s Netx Gen car:
“Pretty disappointing that our sanctioning body refuses to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for drivers getting hurt,” Denny Hamlin stated via twitter.
He added, “It’s the same THEY said. WE knew better. It’s wrong these drivers continue to get taken advantage of by the system.”
Kevin Harvick comments on the Next Gen safety
Kevin Harvick crashed at Texas Motor Speedway. The driver noted how sore he was the day after the race:
“Currently doing red light therapy with an extremely sore back and neck. All the reasons that the car has issues that need to be addressed. Sore body, car keeps going after extreme contact.”
Driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 car also commented on the Next Gen car:
Completely unacceptable that those in charge have let things get to this point,” Kevin Harvick stated via twitter on Thursday.
“I remember it like it was yesterday, Denny Hamlin in the presentation of the new car to the drivers pleading that the car was to stiff. Data didn’t agree.”
Harvick added, “TIME TO LISTEN TO THE DRIVERS CRASHING THEM!”
Chase Elliott comments
Justin Marks is the co-owner of Trackhouse Racing.
Marks tweeted, “This new car is the most radical change in the history of NASCAR – perfecting its performance and safety is going to be a process. We cannot assume perfection right out of the gates. This comes from an owner whose parts expense is an order of magnitude more than budgeted.”
Chase Elliott responded to the comments from Marks, “With the experience and knowledge gained since 1948 and the technology we have in 2022… we should never take steps backwards in any area with a new design.”