Originally set to debut this year, the rollout of the Next Gen NASCAR Cup Series car was pushed back a year due to scheduling challenges related to COVID-19. Now scheduled to make its official debut in the 2022 Daytona 500, the Next Gen car will be the first new generation race car for NASCAR’s premier series since the debut of the Gen-6 model in 2013.
Development of the Next Gen machine is ongoing, with one of the most recent on-track tests having occurred in mid-December at Daytona.
“We played with a lot of horsepower levels and drag levels to hit our target speed, which we were able to do pretty easily,” said John Probst, NASCAR senior vice president of racing innovation. “Nothing surprising, and all good as far as the development of the car.”
While Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick have no intention of retiring from NASCAR any time soon, the proverbial clock is ticking on these three veteran drivers.
With Jimmie Johnson’s retirement from NASCAR at the end of last season, Harvick – at age 45 – is now the oldest full-time driver in NASCAR’s premier division. Newman, at 43, is the second oldest, while Busch, at 42, is the next in line.
With few drivers these days competing past their mid-40s, it seems likely that Harvick, Newman and Busch will all hang it up sooner rather than later. The question, of course, is when these announcements will come and who will be first.
While Harvick is the oldest of the three, he’s been by far the most competitive over the last few years, which could delay any retirement plans.