The concern is real. Wreck a couple of race cars early in the 2022 season, and a driver or team might have to scramble to have a car ready for a race as the NASCAR Cup Series transitions to the Next Gen car.
What’s also real? Most drivers get paid not to care about that.
When there is a trophy, a big check and a playoff spot on the line, drivers typically don’t hesitate to push a car to its limits. But as the 2022 season quickly approaches, teams are getting nervous. The Busch Clash is a little more than three weeks away.
NASCAR originally believed that teams would have five cars (for each car number they field) completed by the start of the season, but teams at the Daytona test Tuesday and Wednesday indicated that they had just two completed cars, with a third being assembled. Team owners seemed to believe that they won’t have five completed cars until closer to the end of February.
What happened? As teams discovered handling and heat issues in testing last fall and after NASCAR conducted additional safety tests, NASCAR tweaked several parts and pieces. That delayed the delivery of main components to teams. Supply issues for vendors — teams must purchase all major parts and pieces (except the engine) from approved vendors, unlike with previous cars that teams manufactured — have also slowed completion. It can take an organization a couple of we …