January 29, 2023

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For Glorious Car

Next Gen car leveled NASCAR field in 2022, possibly beyond

The most meticulously built and intently managed racecar in NASCAR historical past leveled the area in 2022.

The so-referred to as Next Gen car resulted in 19 unique winners in excess of 36 races, like 5 initial-timers and two men who earned their very first shot at a championship in the time finale. It supplied much more interesting racing at most tracks and may possibly have assisted improve attendance and tv ratings.

Even though the unpredictable time finished with a familiar confront hoisting the trophy in Phoenix — Joey Logano received his 2nd title with Staff Penske — it also showed that any individual can gain in stock car racing’s major series.

The largest teams, the types with the deepest pockets, no longer had apparent-slice positive aspects like they did in past a long time. The very best drivers didn’t have big edges, possibly.

Successful came down to timing and luck as substantially as tuning and expertise. No matter whether that carries around into 2023 continues to be to be noticed. But the redesigned vehicle could aid lead to much more countrywide relevance and much better very long-phrase security for one particular of racing’s most well-liked series.

“Before this 12 months (and) the Following Gen motor vehicle, you had to have a partnership with one particular of 5 race groups if you wanted to come into this sport. You had to,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps explained in November. “This vehicle transformed that.”

Phelps pointed to the car’s styling and its relevance to those people coming off assembly strains at Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. He noted the raciness of the car, saying there were being more passes in the Cup Sequence than any solitary season in advance of. And he insisted security was the best precedence for the vehicle inspite of driver complaints with regards to crashes.

“It’s a steep learning curve this 12 months with this car,” said Logano’s crew chief, Paul Wolfe. “It’s one thing thoroughly different than what we have certainly used in the previous. … A great deal of the matters we did in the past genuinely don’t perform with this automobile.”

Logano and Wolfe figured it out quicker than most, profitable a collection-large-tying 5 occasions if you rely the exhibition Clash to open the season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Boy, this yr was an experience, to say the minimum,” Logano reported. “It’s just type of ridiculous to consider about it all. It was a hard grind of a yr, and a good deal of occasions you just felt dropped. The only factor that assisted me is I recognized that anyone else was dropped with me. That’s a person way to stay confident is when you know everyone else is missing, also.”

Biggest Surprise

Ross Chastain completed second to Logano, a breakthrough time for an eighth-generational watermelon farmer from Florida. Chastain experienced a series-main 15 prime-5 finishes for upstart Trackhouse Racing, none larger than his fourth-area exhibiting at Martinsville in which he used a video game transfer to pass 5 automobiles in a issue of seconds and claim the final place in the title race.

Largest DISAPPOINTMENT

Martin Truex Jr. went winless for the very first time due to the fact 2014 and concluded 17th in general. The 2017 series winner failed to make the playoffs for the 3rd time in eight seasons and had viewed as stepping away just before saying in June his determination to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023.

Major ROOKIE

Austin Cindric gained the period-opening Daytona 500 and concluded 12th for Group Penske. He gained Rookie of the Calendar year honors and, contemplating he has Logano as a teammate, could uncover a lot more accomplishment in his second full period.

RETIREMENT AGE?

Aric Almirola was scheduled to retire from total-time racing at the stop of 2022, but he had a change of coronary heart and will return for just one more yr at Stewart-Haas Racing. Will everyone join him in generating 2023 a farewell tour? Kevin Harvick expects to know if next period will be his last right before the Daytona 500 in February. What about Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Truex? The trio is certainly nearing the finish of their Corridor of Fame professions.

1 TO Observe

Kyle Busch’s ballyhooed shift to Richard Childress Racing and Tyler Reddick’s a lot-expected change to 23XI Racing will get a lot of consideration in 2023, but AJ Allmendinger’s complete-time return to the Cup Collection with Kaulig Racing is a different 1 to check out. Allmendinger had 6 best-10 finishes in his very last eight Cup starts with Kaulig in 2022.

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