NASCAR driver outcry and safety concerns overshadow playoffs

  • NASCAR is nearing the end of its 36-race, 10-month season with more attention focused on its beleaguered new car than on the championship-defining playoff series.
  • NASCAR spent several years developing a new car that it felt would be more racing, safer, competitive and more affordable than its previous model.
  • The problem is that drivers say “routine” crashes that once seemed to be more violent than usual.

    Perhaps surprisingly, during the last fight over NASCAR Controversial next generation car No one said publicly, “We won’t be in this mess if Dale Earnhardt They were still alive.”

    something to think about.

    The late seven-time Cup Series champion held such an influence on NASCAR for two decades that it’s reasonable to assume he wouldn’t have let things come this far over the cliff. At the first sign of trouble, Ironhead had directly planted himself in Daytona Beach and/or Charlotte and simply said, “You guys fix that shit and fix it now.”

    Thus, it could have been done.

    Instead, NASCAR has reached the end of its 36-race, 10-month season with attention focused more on its beleaguered new car than on the championship-defining playoff series. Four more drivers will be eliminated this weekend in Charlotte Roval, cutting the original 16-driver field in half. While this is happening, many sports stars will be searching for answers to their right, understandable questions about the future of the car.

    In review: NASCAR spent several years developing a new car that it felt would be more racing, safer, more competitive, and more affordable than its previous model. Scheduled to be rolled out in time for 2021, the so-called “next generation” car has been delayed until this year due to COVID-related supply, delivery and personnel issues. The estimated cost of three years of continuous research and development runs into the hundreds of millions. (Dare we suggest a billion)?

    NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500

    Austin Sendrick’s win at Daytona was the highlight of an early season for a NASCAR season that has been declining in recent weeks.

    Shawn GardnerGetty Images

    Initially, the new piece was everything NASCAR hoped it would be. There was a final three-way photo at the season opener at the Daytona 500. All told, three drivers – Austin Cendrick, Chase Briscoe, and Ross Chastain—their first win in the first six races of the season. Eight different winners went to Victory Lane in the first 10 races. He racked up a record 19 wins in the final weeks of the season. Five of those 19 — Tyler Riddick and Daniel Suarez joined by Cendrick, Briscoe, and Chastain — were first-time winners.

    I hardly heard the word frustrated.

    But suddenly, all was not well.

    Drivers began to complain that the seemingly “routine” crashes were more violent than usual. Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin was surprised to be hit during his August crash in Daytona Beach. “The blow was massive,” he said of the incident, which did not appear to be extreme. “It’s my first in this next generation car and it was legit.”

    Earlier in the season, former champion Kurt Busch returned to the wall during Saturday’s playoffs in Pocono. The effect was not significant, but doctors excluded him from Sunday’s race due to “concussion-like symptoms”. He hasn’t raced since, and his chances of returning by car this year seem remote.

    NASCAR Cup Series June 05 Enjoy the Illinois 300 presented by Tickmarter

    Bubba Wallace is pulling back hard at the World Wide Technology racetrack earlier this season.

    Sportswear IconGetty Images

    Most recently, Alex Bowman slipped into a wall during a playoff race in Texas. He recovered enough to finish the race, but doctors later banned him from racing in Talladega and Charlotte. With his playoff hopes dashed, it is doubtful whether he will race again this year. Most people would agree that the collapse of Texas was not that serious.

    (FYI: It should be noted that Bush and Bowman are not the first to miss races or leave the Cup series due to a concussion. Jerry Nadeau, Ernie Irvan, Steve Park and Larry Pollard have all been forced to resign due to head injuries. Famous Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finally retired from racing full time in 2016 after suffering at least two concussions).

    The main problem was that the next generation cars were more solid and stubborn than the previous versions.

    The main problem was that the next generation cars are more solid and stubborn than previous versions of Ford MustangAnd the Chevrolet CamarosAnd the Toyota Camry. New cars are designed to be more resistant to impacting directly on the driver’s workspace. This is all well and good, but cars with a great deal of protection create situations in which drivers withstand more physical force from minor shocks than in the past; For example, collisions at the rear end of a next-generation car, where Bosch and Bowman crashed.

    The recent protest also focused on the NASCAR rule that parts and components must come from an authorized third-party seller. Long gone are the days when creative mechanics and crew chiefs were free to handcraft everything they needed for their cars. Most are designed and built from scratch on a jig or mold, and then finished in each team’s garage. What NASCAR has now is more like the IROC series, with cars (in theory, anyway) built to identical specs. The famous “gray area” – where gentlemen love Smoky Unique Bud Moore and Leonard Wood found that speed was gone for good.

    Hear what some of the biggest sports stars have to say about the next generation car:

    NASCAR PASS Pro Cup Series Night Race Shops

    Kevin Harvick

    Logan RileyGetty Images

    “I’m sure it’s just bad race car parts as we’ve seen so many times. They haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like safety stuff. We just let it go and go on. It’s totally unacceptable for officials to let things get to this point. I remember (Hamlin) ) at the new car show begging the car is too stiff. The data didn’t match. It’s time to listen to the drivers crashing them!

    —Former Champion Kevin Harvick after a fire last month at Darlington Raceway ended the playoff race.


    Denny Hamlin

    Jonathan BachmanGetty Images

    “When Kevin and I are gone, someone has to step up and be the voice of reason and call things as they are. I know all these guys are just happy to be here. They won’t be happy to be here when their brains scramble for the rest of their lives. I feel like the jaws (of) one of those boxers whose face was completely demolished.”

    “The main goal now is for NASCAR to change the rear section. The car needs a complete redesign – front, rear and everywhere. We raised red flags over a year ago, and they didn’t respond. They kept pushing that this race car has to be on the track. (in 2022) at any cost.

    “It is very disappointing that our sanctioning body refused to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for injury to drivers. It is the same thing they said, but we knew it better. It is wrong that these drivers continue to take advantage of the system.”

    —Hamlin, is among the most outspoken drivers when it comes to safety issues.

    October 02, NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Yellawood 500

    Chase Elliot

    Sportswear IconGetty Images

    “You have all these years of experience and knowledge and time to race and break down these cars and the teams that work on them and build them (but) it amazes me that we can have something new in 2022 that delivers all this technology and all this time and experience of so many talented people in the sport, and let it Looking back, especially bye bye.

    “I don’t feel like we should have been in this situation in the beginning, we have to move on. We should have moved on with a new opportunity and a new car. It’s just so amazing to me that we let that happen.”

    Former champ and current points leader Chase Elliott, a five-time winner this year.

    Not always as fast as drivers would like, but NASCAR has taken steps to answer most of their concerns. They changed safety rules in September to reduce the potential for fire in areas where rubber accumulates. A recent simulation test at a facility in Ohio is among the steps taken to solve the problem of why seemingly minor rear-end collisions end up putting drivers on the sidelines. Some changes will be held until next year.

    The idea that officials don’t listen to drivers and owners is completely wrong, says Elton Sawyer, NASCAR CEO. He said that a lot of the dialogue is out of the public eye, leaving outsiders to think that no one cares about the drivers. There were official driver meetings last weekend in Talladega and more are scheduled this weekend in Charlotte.

    “There will be some dialogue this week with the drivers who will be updating them about development with the next generation car,” the former Xfinity and Cup Series driver said recently. “Safety is never over. It’s a journey like you’ve heard before. Every day, there’s something they’re working on to make our sport safer. It’s an inherently dangerous sport, but there are things we can and do (to make it safer).”

    “There is an ongoing dialogue (this week) to make them fully aware of where we are, what we are doing, how we will make progress, how we will improve and continue to build on this exceptionally rolled-out next-generation car. It has not been without some challenges, which you will face in any project. New. There are things we are working on behind the scenes now, and we will be working to speed up the drivers and teams on these projects this week.”

    Earnhardt may not be happy, but at least he may be more understanding.

    Have thoughts about next generation car, complaints from drivers, and the response from NASCAR? Post them in the next comment.

Leave a Comment