It's no secret when NASCAR went to the Next Gen car prior to the start of the 2022 season, there were going to be growing pains.
Now having run the Next Gen car for two seasons, it still isn't where it needs to be, according to Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who stopped into the Sirius XM NASCAR Radio set this week to talk about several topics. One of the biggest topics of discussion was his thoughts on the Next Gen car and the racing it has produced so far.
According to Gordon, the NASCAR Next Gen car has really put a lot more pressure on the drivers because they have to have an intense focus on car control, but he is appreciative of the safety advancements NASCAR has been making with the car.
? ?Passing at a lot of the tracks is very, very challenging.? pic.twitter.com/6nQlo1bnvT
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) September 28, 2023
"This car is on the edge, ya know the drivers are really having to pay attention and be super focused because you saw what happened with Kyle Larson, just how easy that car got away from him when he was racing with Bubba this past weekend. We saw with William Byron at Kansas, just losing it off of turn two. So, a lot of that is just the tire and lack of side force," Gordon said. "Otherwise, I really like the car, they have made some great improvements with the crush zones, and some of the safety features have been far improved. We see the hit that Ryan Blaney had, and the hit that Kyle Busch had this past weekend ... I'm hearing a lot better results from that standpoint."
The only really big issue that Gordon still thinks needs work is the ability of the drivers to get close to each other and be able to make passes. That seems to be a common issue that most drivers and teams seem to be focused on.
Gordon isn't wrong, as has been evident in several races throughout the past two seasons and it's clear that this isn't a problem that can easily be fixed, especially considering all the different types of tracks that NASCAR races on.
Still, the drivers and teams should be confident that they can catch another car, and not have to rely on a caution to restack the field.
The NASCAR Next Gen car is good enough to allow frequent racing for the lead. Is it perfect? No, but it is providing better racing.
This 'isn't F1' as Joey Logano said recently. Passing is a good thing.
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