No NASCAR Cup Series storyline will be bigger this season than the performance of the Next Gen race car, set to make its official debut at the Daytona 500. Delayed a year by logistical challenges that COVID-19 presented, the Next Gen car replaces the familiar Gen-6 model that all Cup Series teams have campaigned exclusively the past nine seasons.
Reviews of the Next Gen car have been mixed after numerous rounds of testing, with some drivers saying they believe the model will create more competitive racing but others expressing concern about reduced speeds.
In 2022, drivers will run the Next Gen car at all 36 points races and two exhibition races, but the car won’t feature the same rules configuration everywhere. So the Next Gen could perform extremely well at some tracks but have a less-than-desired effect at others. Only time will render the overall verdict.