Hear what Hamlin had to say as multiple drivers are out with concussion-like symptoms
At the start of the 2022 season, NASCAR launched the Next Gen car. The car was designed to improve multiple eliments of the racing product as well as the business model.
First, the Next Gen car is a spec machine, identical from team to team. The idea was to drastically reduce costs on the teams as the chassis and many parts come from a single manufacturer. It also drastically reduces development costs.
An identical car, was also designed to level the playing field. The idea that the small teams could compete with the big teams and with 19 different winners this season, it’s certainly fulfilled that element.
The Gen 6 car was introduced in 2013. Nearly a decade later came the Gen 7 (Next Gen), like any new generation car, it’s just expected to be safer.
The Next Gen car is for sure more rigid and on many data lines, safer. However, with certain impacts the car has produced negative impacts.
Both Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman are currently sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. In both crashes, the car impacted the wall with the rear of the car.
Watch the Kurt Busch crash video
Alex Bowman to miss NASCAR race at Talladega (Crash Video)
Many drivers have been vocal, criticising the safety of the Next Gen car. They note that impacts in general have been harder than in years past. Denny Hamlin has been at the forefront of those conversations. Ahead of Talladega, Hamlin had this to say…
Denny Hamlin critisises NASCAR management on safety issues
Ahead of the race at Talladega, Hamlin commented on the safety issues:
Hamlin was asked how NASCAR is in this position. He quickly responded, “Bad leadership.”
The veteran driver was asked how NASCAR avoids injuries and even deaths that occurred in the past. He quickly noted, “New leadership.”
He added, “Just start at the top and work your way down.”
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott call out NASCAR as drivers get hurt from impacts
Denny Hamlin noted a conversation with NASCAR president Steve Phelps
After the comments above, Hamlin sat down with NASCAR president Steve Phelps. The driver offered some light on that conversation:
“I don’t have any details on it. I’m grateful for Steve Phelps. He is a leader that we need. He is not who I directed any of my comments toward because he’s a huge asset for our sport.
“Me and Steve talk about much bigger and broader things than the safety of the cars. He’s got a lot bigger tasks ahead of him. I don’t task him or bog him down with knick-knack things like car safety.”
“We talked about that because we have that kind of relationship. I trust Steve. Best relationship I’ve had with any president of NASCAR. He’s done a lot for our sport. I made it very clear that I wasn’t directing anything at him.”
NASCAR is expected to be conducting crash tests this week of an update to the Next Gen car. However, that update is not expected to be put into place until 2023.
NASCAR investigating Next Gen car impacts
Ross Chastain comments
“Drivers say what they want to say. I just want to say that they don’t speak for all of us when they say what they want to say,” Ross Chastain stated after the race at Talladega.
“Denny says, ‘Look, these guys are just being quiet because they’re happy to be here.’ We have our own thoughts too, I know I do. Everything he says isn’t just the mouthpiece for the entire garage.”
“Sometimes, saying less is more, there’s a better way to do it than just doing that. A lot of talking and really a lot of pinpointed efforts to move the safety front forward.”
Chastain added, “We’ll see that, safety never stops. You can always make these things safer.”
Denny Hamlin crashes Ross Chastain for Pocono win; Payback (Video)
Denny Hamlin | Talladega Superspeedway | Texas Motor Speedway | NASCAR