So, we are finally a few weeks into the next-gen era in NASCAR. While I’m sitting here in a web-based training class for my new job, multi-tasking while writing this article. I had a classic NASCAR race on the TV. Watching Kyle Busch claim only the fourth victory of his career in the winged car of tomorrow made me think about these new cars. We just witnessed the tenth points-paying race of the season last night. What’s the overall opinion, ten races into the next-gen era? Good, bad, or maybe you’re a little mixed right now either way that’s okay! Here are my ratings for each track type with the new car thus far. Please, let me know below though because I love hearing from other fans like myself.
Super-Speedways & Road Courses
Technically we have only raced at one of each of these individual tracks. The first superspeedway race was at Daytona. You could maybe consider Atlanta just due to the performance package, but for this article, I’m going to leave it off. We are headed to Talladega this weekend though so it should be interesting. Regardless it was a successful debut at Daytona in my opinion. However, the thing with Daytona and even Talladega is the draft and how drivers manipulate it tend to determine how good of a racing product we see. I guess we will see how Talladega does this weekend, we know it will be exciting at least within the last fifty or so laps.
As for the road course race, COTA was the typical road race to me anyways. Drivers trying to get into rhythm most of the race but then the final five laps come around. Were watched Ross Chastain and Trackhouse racing get their first career wins after some bumping and banging. I will be giving ratings out of ten for all the tracks but for these two tracks, I’m going to wait. We just haven’t seen enough product to determine what the next-gen car is on tracks like these for this fan. What about you all? Have you seen enough to say the next-gen car has been good? Or do you want to see some more?
The next-gen car has seen a few of these intermediate tracks thus far. I have never been a huge fan of these tracks. Of course, minus the now gone old worn-out Atlanta. Before this year, it always seemed like the pack got stretched out and couldn’t pass. Now we have seen this next-gen car do that throughout a few of the races this year. However, I feel like the racing product has been greatly improved on these tracks.
We saw four and five wide restarts. Then every driver raced all over the track trying to find the fastest line for a few laps until they all calmed down. Also, we have seen the best drivers in the world arguably with their hands full on every lap. That alone in my mind made this product better. Seeing these guys drive the cars makes it a lot more enjoyable. My rating for the intermediate tracks is going to be a seven out of ten thus far. Room to improve I think but still better than last year.
Let me get this out in the open. When we ended last season, I thought the short-track racing was the best. We had the typical bumping and running that we had all come to know and love at short tracks. There have been at minimum three short track races possibly four depending on how you classify Phoenix. Minus last night’s race the racing product has gotten somewhat worse in my opinion.
We saw the drivers run competitors down from being almost four seconds behind and then just stall out. They were unable to complete the pass almost like there was an air block or something. If you’re a fan, then you saw these drivers were unable to even get to the bumpers of the cars in front of them. We heard eight-time champion winning crew chief Chad Knaus say the racing has gone too crap on a live broadcast. Now he said it was due to the ride height rule. Is that the problem with the current short-track product? Who knows? Honestly, I think I would lean toward Chad’s side of this spectrum. He after all does have the trophies to back up his mouth. Let’s lower the downforce and up the horsepower on these next-gen cars at short tracks. Six out of ten for short tracks. Huge room for improvement but there is hope the season is still early.
Way too Early Next Gen Wrap Up
We are headed back to Talladega this weekend and should see an exciting race. Talladega never ceases to provide us with that for sure. Overall, ten races into this season the next-gen car has been a success. You’ve seen the competitiveness improve with the likes of Trackhouse Racing winning their first race as well as just competing better all together. Even Erik Jones in that forty three car has been running a lot better this year leading laps and qualifying in the top ten.
You might be saying if you stuck around this long “Well Chris it’s too early to review this next-gen car right now!” Hey, you might be right, but this is sports journalism isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? However, don’t say I didn’t give you the chance too give your opinion though, heck I welcome it in the comments below.
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