It has been a rough year for some NASCAR drivers who are having to deal with injuries. Drivers are blaming the new Next Gen car which they claim is stiffer and does not absorb impacts like the older cars did.
Kurt Busch received a concussion late in July while qualifying at Pocono Raceway and has still not returned to racing; while he has been seen at the track in recent weeks.
During the race at Texas Motor Speedway Cody Ware suffered a fractured foot and torn ligaments during a crash and while he missed the race at The ROVAL, Ware said that he will return to the track sporting a boot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.
However, Alex Bowman who also received a concussion in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway and missed the race at The ROVAL. Bowman has just announced that as a result of the concussion symptoms, he will be out for the next three races – Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami, and Martinsville; there was no mention as to whether or not Bowman will be available for the final race of the season at Phoenix Raceway.
Saying that it was long overdue, NASCAR president Steve Phelps held a drivers only meeting at Charlotte Motor Speedway las weekend where the drivers expressed their thoughts and ideas over the safety of the Next Gen car. Phelps spoke on the importance of safety saying, “Safety is the single most important thing for NASCAR. 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.”
As a result of that meeting, NASCAR has begun to make some changes to the car to make it safer for the drivers beginning with the rear of the car. NASCAR will be covering any additional charges for the changes.
New rear bumper struts are being installed and at a thickness of 0,080 inches, they should aid in having the car crumple during a rear end accident.
The rear clips and center sections are a single source part produced by Technique Chassis who will work to modify the parts under the new rules for next season.
NASCAR has indicated that the rear bumper issue is just the first step in making the Next Gen car safer for the drivers.
Changes have also been proposed for the center section in relation to the tubes, their sizes and angles. Changes to other parts are also being looked at in order to make the parts crumple and absorb more energy, making it safer for the drivers.
Cup Series crews and Technique Chassis will be very busy over the winter break getting the cars ready for the 2023 season with the new changes.