At the start of the pandemic, really before anyone even took it seriously, I had started my interest back into NASCAR. I was in North Carolina at the time, and with the season kicking up, plans were brewing for a weekend trip to the old race track down at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
There had been talk in 2019 of a new unification of the NASCAR car body and it felt like this might be the last time we’d see certain aspects of the sport and I didn’t want to miss it. Welp, turns out we all missed it.
For better or worse, 2022 welcomed in the next generation of race cars for NASCAR as we were reminded this morning by a formal letter from Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s president:
To Our Fans –
When the drivers fire their engines today at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, NASCAR will officially begin a new era, and the future of our sport will be on full display for our industry and fans.
The Next Gen race car has arrived and is ready for its debut to start the 2022 season. The new car not only reinforces NASCAR’s commitment to best-in-class racing, it symbolizes the bold innovation that continues to drive us forward across all areas of the sport.
Its inaugural tour will follow a dynamic schedule that returns NASCAR to stock car racing’s hallowed ground, while also exploring new venues and opportunities. We look forward to hosting you and your families at our races this season and hope to create fun and memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.
It is your loyalty and passion for NASCAR that has carried us forward all these years, and we’re proud to return the heart-pounding action and dramatic, side-by-side racing you’ve always known and loved.
As the interest and enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow, we’re also proud to welcome countless new fans to the NASCAR family, and we hope you thoroughly enjoy the unpredictable thrill ride that is sure to be the 2022 race season.
So buckle up, everyone. The green flag on the Next Gen era is about to drop. Get your race tickets. Set your tune-in reminders. And follow the NASCAR action at every turn until we crown our champions at Phoenix Raceway in November.
On behalf of the NASCAR industry, thank you for your continued support of NASCAR. We hope you enjoy today’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.
So what changed? A bunch really but “for the first time, these chassis are not built in house by Cup teams. These chassis are provided by a NASCAR-approved supplier .” Which just seems wrong. Fortunately, the teams are able to tune the car under regulation, but it seems the spirit of innovation has been stifled by the organization because of this move.
Instead of getting super hyped about future racing technology, I got super nostalgic about my childhood racers Dale Earnhardt vs Jeff Gordon. Rest In Peace #3. Still to this day I love the insider phrase, “Raise Hell, Praise Dale.”
During my little fancy back into NASCAR, I took to eBay looking for some radio programs on cassette of past races. I had found a 1994 NASCAR WINSTON CUP review on cassette for like $5 plus free shipping.
I took that cassette on a beach trip, listened to it front and back multiple times, and somehow left NASCAR as a bygone era.
Had Covid not interrupted my plans, I may have been super into NASCAR this coming season but still just holding out on nostalgia. Yet, getting the email this morning had me interested. I hadn’t actually looked at the new car designs since their initial proposed announcement. I’m rather pleased with the results:
As much as I want to watch today’s race, I rather just see the cars for myself in person. Now living in San Francisco, I should make a pilgrimage to Auto Club Speedway in the summer. Until then, I’ll probably catch up on clips here and there on YouTube. It would be great to get another generation of racers as we did in the 90s but it seems nearly impossible with regulations and today’s culture. Still, I hold out on the hope that the best of NASCAR is still in front of us.
NASCAR CLASH SCHEDULE Race: Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Location:
- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- Date: Sunday, February 6 Time: 6 p.m. ET
- Purse: $1,967,000
- TV: FOX
- Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
- Distance: 37.5 miles (150 laps)
- Stage Break: Lap 75