When 23XI Racing revealed that Kurt Busch will join the team for the 2022 season, the team showcased a stock car with the door numbers next to the front wheels. This sight created conversations and prompted a response by NASCAR. The sanctioning body confirmed that the door numbers will move forward for the 2022 Cup Series season.
NASCAR issued a press release on Friday, Aug. 27, confirming the change for the season and explaining that the Next Gen cars feature smaller quarter panels than the current stock cars. Moving the numbers forward will open up more space for sponsors to showcase their logos during the races.
“We are extremely enthusiastic about the launch of the Next Gen car in 2022,” Richard Childress Racing President Torrey Galida said in the press release from NASCAR. “All three manufacturers did a great job with the styling of the new race cars. We all know how important the number is to a fan’s connection with their driver. Moving the numbers forward should make them more visible, and will also provide the race teams an opportunity to give sponsors some enhanced branding opportunities. The teams and sponsors are going to have fun creating some bold new designs on the new car.”
NASCAR’s Numbers Decision Follows Months of Speculation
While NASCAR only confirmed the numbers move on Aug. 27, the sanctioning body has worked on this process for a very long time. For example, the sanctioning body experimented with a change during the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
When the drivers showed up to the historic short track, they noticed two main changes on the stock cars. There were undercarriage lights to add some flair to the race. The numbers also sat further back on the bodies to make room for sponsor logos.
The change for the All-Star Race was more of a one-off, but discussions continued about the future and the introduction of the Next Gen car. Adam Stern of the “Sports Business Journal” then provided an update on Aug. 2, reporting that the review of the potential number change was entering the final stages. He noted that the numbers would move forward and that NASCAR could make the announcement “within weeks.”
The Next Gen Cars Will Debut at Daytona
While the next generation of NASCAR will feature decidedly different stock cars, the fans will have to wait for many months before seeing them in action. The new Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Camaro, and Ford Mustang will not hit the track until the season-opening festivities at Daytona International Speedway in February 2022.
For now, the drivers in the Cup Series will focus on finishing out the 2021 season in the current generation of stock cars. They will cap off the regular season with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona on Aug. 28, and then the top 16 drivers will move on to the playoffs.
For Busch, he will set out to cap off Chip Ganassi Racing’s time in NASCAR in the best way possible following Trackhouse Racing’s purchase of the team’s operations. He locked up a spot in the playoffs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning the Quaker State 400 on July 11. He will be part of the playoff field when the chase begins at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 5 and will fight to win more races and contend for his second championship trophy before heading over to 23XI Racing.