Brad Keselowski says drivers should ‘man up’ on next-gen NASCAR cars

nascar cup series test

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  • Despite development that began in January 2019 and a series of 16 tests, the car remains somewhat of a mystery as NASCAR enters its short and busy off-season.
  • The hope is also that the generally slower speeds of the new car will give more importance to the skills of the drivers.
  • There will be at least four more tests of the car – December. 15 & 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, January 11-12 at Daytona International Speedway and January 25-26 at Phoenix International Raceway.

    There have been tests and there will be more tests, but NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup race car is steadily making its way to a track near you.

    NASCAR’s much-talked-about new car — the one with the clean lines and the bigger tires and the slightly odd odd numbers and weirdest of all (one wheel nut!) — is slated to be driven in anger for the first time on February 6 at the Clash in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

    Before the debut, however, there will be at least four more tests of the car – December. 15 & 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, January 11-12 at Daytona International Speedway and January 25-26 at Phoenix International Raceway.

    Despite development that began in January 2019 and a series of 16 tests, the car remains somewhat of a mystery as NASCAR enters its short and busy off-season.

    nascar cup series test

    Grant HalversonGetty Images

    “There are so many unknowns,” said Joey Logano. “It is difficult to predict what will be next season. Now when someone says how they are going to do next year, they are full of nonsense. Nobody knows.

    “What we’ve done with the Gen 6 car in the past isn’t going to be really successful. You have to think out of the box with this new car. I think Team Penske may have a slight advantage because we’ve raced so many things outside of NASCAR. We’ve seen sports cars race and Indy cars race. Understanding how they do things should give us some kind of advantage. But there is so much to learn with this car.”

    The change from one car to another is one of the most dramatic changes in NASCAR history. Teams will build cars from parts produced by suppliers, rather than building them from start to finish.

    From its inception nearly three years ago, NASCAR’s focus has been on making the new car budget-friendly, improving its relevance to road car models, and raising the level of competition. The Cup race product was generally good into the 2021 season, in part due to the Gen 6 car being on the track for so long, but its replacement was considered three years ago as part of NASCAR’s ongoing plan to pace.

    nascar cup series test

    Grant HalversonGetty Images

    The hope is also that the generally slower speeds of the new car will give more importance to the skills of the drivers.

    “The car is a lot slower than the older Cup cars, but it steers very badly, which I think is a good thing,” said Brad Keselowski. “I think we had fallen into a place where the Cup cars were driving too well. Now you have to be man up to drive these cars.

    “They are not super fast, but they are very challenging to drive. If you make a small mistake, you pay a lot for it. I think it definitely puts more emphasis on the driver making fewer mistakes and the whole risk-versus-reward proposition.”

    The new car is also expected to provide some sort of boost to the tour’s mid-range teams, in part due to projected lower operating costs and parts and components that will be identical to top teams.

    “I’m excited about the Next Gen car that kind of leveles the playing field and shows us what kind of team we really are,” said Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell, winner of the 2021 Daytona 500.

    “We will all have the same parts and parts from suppliers from one source – chassis, suspension, shocks. With the current car the teams were building everything up. You couldn’t catch up as a small team. You can’t develop Hendrick Motorsports further with 400 or 500 employees if we have 70.

    “That should slow down. Obviously the best teams still have to be the best because they have the best people, but at the very least you want to have a chance to compete if you do it right, and I think this car will do that. ”

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