NASCAR Implementing Next Gen Changes for 2023 Season: Report

Kurt Busch

Getty Kurt Busch crashed at Pocono Raceway.

The sanctioning body is taking steps to address the safety concerns of the Next Gen car. NASCAR will implement changes to the rear of the cars while footing the bill for the added costs.

Bozi Tatarevic obtained a leaked memo highlighting the changes, and he broke them down piece by piece for Road and Track. Chief among them is the introduction of new rear bumper struts. These supports hold the bumper to the rear clip. They will have a change in thickness to 0.080 inches, which should help them crumple better during rear impacts.

Additionally, the rear clip and center section will be altered during the off-season. Technique Chassis, the single-source vendor that maintains these components, will do the work as the company tries to reduce the stiffness.

Tatarevic reported in his article that NASCAR would pay for the initial updates that will take place over the winter. The sanctioning body then confirmed that this is the case, which could be seen as an olive branch based on the contentious past few months featuring drivers making frustrated comments to the media.

The Changes Take Place Following an Important Meeting

Brad Keselowski

GettyBrad Keselowski tests the Next Gen car at Daytona International Speedway.

These changes take place after NASCAR executives held a 75-minute meeting with drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They showed off the data from recent crash tests and set up these changes for the upcoming season.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps provided some details about the meeting during NBC’s pre-race show at the Charlotte Roval. He shouldered the blame for taking too long to bring everyone together to address the safety concerns, and he revealed that there will now be weekly meetings between NASCAR and the drivers.

“Safety is the single most important thing for NASCAR,” Phelps said. “I think we have a two-decade history that would suggest that is a true statement. So are there things we need to do to this race car to make it safer? Yes, particularly in the rear of the car. But there also are things with this car that are safer than the last car. So we are going to continue to iterate on the car working with our drivers.”

The Rear Changes Are Only 1 Step

Bubba Wallace

GettyBubba Wallace tests the Next Gen car.

The upcoming changes to the rear of the Next Gen cars should help address the collisions that resulted in both Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman missing races due to concussions. However, it is only one step.

There will be multiple other conversation pieces in the future as NASCAR and the teams continue to work on making improvements. After all, the rear impacts were not the only problem that the drivers pointed out. Kevin Harvick, in particular, talked about how “every hit hurts” while Denny Hamlin called for a complete redesign.

The pursuit of safety will never stop, so there will certainly be continued discussions about other changes in the future. For now, the rear impacts will remain the focus as NASCAR and the teams try to address the biggest problems before the 2023 Daytona 500.

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Tim Edick
Tim Edick
11 months ago

Maybe after NASCAR makes this car safer, which really needs to be done, they will make an even bigger change? Let the teams and crews have more control on making changes to the chassis and engines on these cars. Parity has ruined NASCAR racing at the cup level. Watching single file racing week after week is becoming boring. The worst car in the field, if leading, can’t be passed. That’s not racing!