The NASCAR Next Gen car was created for teams to spend a much lesser amount of money. That's why so many smaller teams were struggling to stay afloat.
Because of this, NASCAR came up with a way to cut the cost by making all the teams run the same car.
It's nice that all the cars are equal, but that doesn't mean NASCAR is in a good place. As for cutting the cost, that certainly hasn't changed.
The costs have in fact gone up since the Next Gen car was first introduced in 2022. The mix of inflation, labor, and the use of single suppliers are only part of that issue. NASCAR's current business model and sponsorship are feeling its impact as well.
Denny Hamlin not only drives his own car for Joe Gibbs Racing, but he also has to worry about making sure the team he co-owns with Michael Jordan is also able to continue to run at a high level.
None of that is easy, and Hamlin has previously been very critical of NASCAR's business model, and how he doesn't like where talks stand.
Hamlin had plenty to talk about the Next Gen's budget issue and all the money it takes to get these cars ready for Sunday, on his podcast Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin. According to him, there is a lot more cost than previously expected.
"It doesn't actually put the car together. There's still fasteners, brackets. If you buy the Next Gen car, there's still hundreds of parts and pieces you either need to buy or manufacture. That actually puts the car together, Hamlin said. "The Next Gen comes with a booklet on how to put it together. It comes with an instruction manual, this is hilarious. Kyle Busch called it the Walmart car, or something. No, no no, this is IKEA."
Hamlin then addressed how the previous budget announced is far higher.
"When we initially got the budget for the Next Gen car. This was 2-2.5 years ago, the cost was coming in below what we were expecting it to be. It was around $225,000," Hamlin said. "All in, right now, this is a rough estimate. With all the other stuff you have to purchase to actually make it roll, $350,000."
Clearly, the Next Gen is far more expensive than previously thought. So much for making it easier on teams. Getting a charter is bad enough, but add on this and some of the smaller start-up teams are spending way over what they can even make running a whole season.
Hamlin always worries about the cost, especially at tracks where there are big wrecks, only hoping he doesn't have to fork out a lot of money for the next race.
"We're racing Lambos out there! At the end of the race, I see a big crash. I roll back around like, 'Please don't be any of my cars.' It's such a big cost."
That is why with the next business model, Hamlin hopes some of these costs can get chopped down. It certainly costs a lot of money for a car that seems nearly indestructible at most races.
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