Is the Next-Gen the Answer?
Last weekend’s action at Fontana Speedway in California put the Next-Gen on display at an intermediate track for the first time. This was the race weekend I was most looking forward to to begin the season. Although the spectacle of Daytona is amazing, this year, in particular, I couldn’t wait to see how the new car would race on an intermediate style track where the drivers could show off their talents. It’s safe to say the new car delivered in a big way, following an incredible race in California I am excited for what the rest of the season has in store.
Great First Impression
There was nonstop action during the race on Sunday. Drivers were on the edge of out of control, doing their best to hold on to the car and keep it from wrecking every lap. This was a great and refreshing change compared to what we have seen on intermediate tracks since 2019, the cars have more horsepower, less downforce, and less side force, making them incredibly challenging for the drivers to get a hang of. Combined with the old worn-out surface of Fontana that provides multiple racing lines, it was a perfect storm that created an awesome race on Sunday. It was easy for cars to pass and make moves without being stuck behind in the turbulent air from the lead car, and drivers having to work the throttle and manage tires brought the “cream of the crop” to the front. I loved what I saw from the Next-Gen this past weekend, and if it can provide racing similar to this every weekend, this could be one of the greatest seasons the sport has seen in decades. It is clear that fans enjoyed the race, as seen below in Jeff Gluck’s weekly “Was it a Good Race Poll,” the results were overwhelmingly positive.
There is Still Work to be Done
Although there was much to be happy about if you’re a NASCAR fan following the Fontana race weekend, there are still a few minor things to be concerned about. The most prevalent issue is that when these new cars get a flat tire, it is almost impossible for the driver to get the car back to pit road for repairs without damaging the car even more in the process. This ultimately causes someone that spins out to lose multiple laps and basically end their chances of a good finish, a punishment far too severe for just a flat tire. It is important that NASCAR and the teams work together to find a solution to this issue quickly. It is frustrating as a fan to see a driver be eliminated from contention for a win because they spun out trying to push their car to its limits and go as fast as they can. I am anxious to see what solution NASCAR can come up with, as I am sure they are already working towards solving this issue. This is something that I think will be common throughout the year, with the introduction of a brand new car, I imagine there will be tons of unforeseen problems that arise. However, if the on-track racing is as good as we saw this past weekend, then there is not much to be worried about.