NASCAR Next Gen fire issues return for the 2023 season
This weekend, the 2023 NASCAR season begins. A 1/4-mile asphalt oval has been constructed inside the LA Coliseum and it hosts the exhibition event.
Watch the Ty Gibbs fire video below.
In the opening practice round, Ty Gibbs has light smoke in his cockpit. But, he completed the session and had the fastest car on the track following three groups of practice, in round one.
With just a few minutes left in his second practice session, Ty Gibbs caught fire. Flames reached inside the cockpit on the right side.
Gibbs was forced to park it on track. He climbed out in a hurry.
The fire was quickly extinguished by the safety team. However, it remains unclear if Gibbs will have to go to a backup car as a result of the fire.
NASCAR re-routed the exhaust through the rocker panels for 2023. They’ve also added mufflers. The rocker boxes are now opened on the bottom side, for cooling.
These fires have been happening since the launch of the Next Gen car. In previous cases, tire dust collected near portions of the exhaust and eventually caught fire.
We don’t know for certain that rubber was the cause of this fire, though it’s assumed.
“It definitely sucks to catch on fire but that’s part of it,” Ty Gibbs told Fox Sports.
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It was the foam inside the door that caught fire. The team is still speculating that it was heat from the exhaust that caused the fire.
The foam is used to lessen impacts. It’s required by the NASCAR rule book inside both doors.
The team is actively working to repair the car ahead of qualifying. They grabbed foam from a competitors car to replace in the doors.
Ty Gibbs will not be allowed to qualify. NASCAR says the team made unapproved adjustments during the course of repairs.
Gibbs will need to race his way into the event. He has no points to fall back on for a provisional as a NASCAR Cup Series rookie.