After years of talk about the Next Gen car, it debuted this year with much anticipation. More than halfway through the regular season, it more than delivered, consistently delivering entertaining racing action, especially at the intermediate tracks.
This week on the Stack up pennies podcast, Corey LaJoie answered a fan’s question about what he thinks he can do to improve the car’s performance at short tracks like Richmond and Martinsville, which were disappointing compared to other tracks because they weren’t not as racy. The Spire Motorsports driver provided an interesting response.
The Next Gen car performed well with one exception
The Next Gen car has exceeded expectations since dropping the green flag to start the season at Daytona. The season-opening race that ended in a photo-finish and multiple cars vying for victory was a precursor to things to come.
This year’s race after race included the key ingredients that produce an entertaining event: constant overtaking (comers and spectators) and finishes where the outcome is unknown until the final laps.
Daytona, Fontana, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta and COTA all had it. Then Richmond and Martinsville came along. Richmond was not a complete disappointment as Denny Hamlin won on a tire strategy call and erased William Byron’s five-second lead. But the fact that Byron took such a big lead says a lot.
Martinsville was more of the same. This time, however, Byron won after surviving an overtime reboot and holding off Joey Logano. Prior to this finish, the #24 car had led 212 of the 403 laps. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott led 185. Dominating a few cars doesn’t make for an entertaining race.
Corey LaJoie reveals NASCAR is making a major change to the Next Gen car
This week, Corey LaJoie spoke on a variety of topics about Stack up pennies podcast, including the Coca-Cola 600, which was the longest race in NASCAR Cup Series history, but still proved to be exciting as it had a lot of overtaking and Denny Hamlin picked up Kyle Busch for the victoire. During the Q&A segment of the podcast, a fan asked LaJoie what he thinks needs to be done to make short tracks better and more exciting for fans.
“I think NASCAR is working on getting rid of the (rear) diffuser,” he said. “Taking a little more downforce off those cars when we go back to Richmond and Martinsville. If we keep the cars a little less glued to the racetrack because we now have 25% more rubber on the ground thanks to wider wheels I think if we take a little downforce off to match you will have some comers and amateurs and should do the short tracks a bit more like we are used to seeing Nobody wants the tracks short are more racy than this guy and I know NASCAR is definitely working on it.
NASCAR deserves credit for adapting to change
NASCAR has been accused in the past of being slow to change. This is clearly not the case here. To its credit, the governing body not only made the transition to a new car, but worked closely with the teams before its debut and since trying to make changes that improve overall performance.
Do you remember those punctures that regularly required towing at the start of the season? We haven’t seen that lately because NASCAR has addressed it.
The hope is, as LaJoie suggested, that NASCAR will make the necessary adjustments to improve racing at short tracks. And if that happens, it will be an improvement on a season that didn’t need much improvement and will continue a year that is already destined to be remembered as one of the best in history. of the Cup Series.
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