The 2021 NASCAR Champion is Kyle Larson. The Hendrick Motorsports driver won the final race of the season, his tenth of the year to cap off a dominant 2021. He is also the last winning driver of what is now an obsolete model of the race car. When Larson took the checkered flag ending the race and the season, the green flag was dropped on another significant change to the sport and the car.
Discussions about a redesigned car go back as far as 2018. The seventh-generation car was originally scheduled to debut at the Daytona 500 this past February but the pandemic postponed testing and delayed the unveiling of the highly anticipated car.
Next Gen 2022
During Speed Weeks in February of 2019, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, Steve O’Donnell said, “If you look at a lot of the dialogue we’ve had with our existing OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), potential OEMs, there’s a lot of interest to do some things differently in terms of making the cars look even more like they do on the street.”
O’Donnel then revealed changes were coming, “So what we’ve done is spent the better part of a year putting together a Gen-7 model. We’re in the process now of going out and talking to OEMs, talking in the industry and getting their feedback on what they like and what they may want to see tweaked, but the goal for us is to roll this out fairly quickly with an accelerated timeline to 2021.”
They’ve had an extra year to get it right, here are some of the changes NASCAR fans will see in 2022.