NASCAR Weekly: Next Gen cars for the 2022 season revealed
Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota have unveiled their individual bodies for the Next Gen car – The cars will debut in the 2022 season
NASCAR Cup Series (by André Wiegold)
The covers have finally come off: Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota have unveiled their bodies for the inaugural 2022 Next Gen season to the public. NASCAR has given the brands more freedom in designing the bodies to bring the cars much closer to the street version. The biggest changes will take place under the silhouette.
The Next Gen car will debut in the 2022 season and mark a true revolution in NASCAR racing. A fuel-injected V8 engine will continue to slumber under the hood of the stock cars, which weigh around 1497 kilograms. The cars are around 4.91 meters long, two meters wide and have a wheelbase of around 2.79 meters.
The rear wing will vary in size depending on the aerodynamic package and track type. The splitter and the new rear diffuser are made of carbon. For the first time, the chassis is a spec kit provided centrally to the teams. The transmission is a five-speed with manual sequential shifting, meaning there is a gearshift and no paddle shifters.
The rigid rear axle is also history: The Next Gen car uses independent rear suspensions. Also new are the 18-inch aluminum wheels with central nuts. The five wheel nuts and purist steel rims are thus also only seen in the Xfinity and Truck series. The tanks can hold around 76 liters of fuel.
Kyle Busch wins on his birthday
Of course, there was a race last Sunday, the Buschy McBusch Race 400, which was won by Kyle Busch on his 36th birthday. It’s the second time the Las Vegas native has been victorious on his birthday, following Richmond in 2009, which is why he now leads the historical standings in that category over Cale Yarborough (1977) and Matt Kenseth (2012).
Earlier, Kyle Larson dominated the action in his Hendrick Chevrolet. The long green flag runs were interrupted by an uncontrolled tire by the Childress crew. One of Tyler Reddick’s tires rolled onto the grass after the stop and triggered a yellow, which NASCAR waited for until all leadlap drivers pitted under green to avoid any distortion of competition.
After that, it was once again “caution breeds caution” with a lot of crashes. During the final restart, Larson and Blaney clashed, leaving them with no chance of winning the race. Although many drivers at the front were on differently worn tires, Busch prevailed in the Gibbs Toyota to celebrate his first victory in 2021. That means the 36-year-old has won at least one race in all of his Cup seasons. The stage winners were Busch and Larson.
NASCAR Xfinity Series (by André Wiegold)
Tanner Berryhill will compete again in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021. He will drive the #23 Our Motorsports car at Darlington and both Texas races. It will be his first NASCAR Xfinity race since 2014 and first NASCAR race since 2018.
Another returnee carries a very big name: Dale Earnhardt Jr.! The former Cup driver, Most Popular Driver, current TV commentator and owner of JR Motorsports will sit in the #8 at Richmond on September 11 and will commemorate the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack with a special livery.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (by Simon Mones)
The Kansas weekend could hardly have gone better for Kyle Busch. Before winning the Cup Series race, he also won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Unlike on Sunday, Busch was the dominant driver in Saturday’s night race from the start and therefore secured both stage wins. Nevertheless, the victory was not a foregone conclusion, because the experienced Cup driver only started the restart at the beginning of the second overtime of the race in fourth place.
And that was precisely the problem: “No restarts went our way tonight. We definitely missed something, coming up through the gears it just would not go,” Busch said. “It was just slow and those guys would just swarm us.”
But the 36-year-old didn’t let that slow him down, passing Ross Chastain and Austin Hill in Turn 4 with one lap to go. For Busch, it was his 61st Truck Series win and second of the year. For his team it was even the fifth success in a row.
Truck season comes to an end for Lessard: Focus on 2022
Meanwhile, things are less successful for Rapahel Lessard, who was actually supposed to contest the entire 2021 season for GMS Racing in the #24 car. But as the team and Lessard announced, the race at Kansas Speedway was the last for the 19-year-old.
In a statement, the team spoke of “unfortunate circumstances” that led to the early end of the season for Lessard. The rookie driver made it clear that he had to pull out early for financial reasons.
“The unfavorable conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic on the North American economy did not allow Raphael Lessard Racing to implement their strategy in the search for funding in 2020.”
Instead, the focus is now on the upcoming season. “My dream is still to race in the Daytona 500 and see my parents sitting in the stands. We are open to opportunities and most importantly, we are working with GMS Racing to come back stronger in 2022. That is our goal.”