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How Durable Is the Next-Gen Car? Comparing How Many Drivers Finish Races

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What’s Happening?

When the Next-Gen car was introduced, one of its selling points was durability. The car was meant to be more reliable and easy to fix to help teams cut costs. Well, how much more durable is the car? The best way to analyze this is how many cars are finishing races with the Next-Gen car.

  • We will look at how many cars on average fail to finish races during the Next-Gen era. We will also break down the reasons for these cars failing to finish, whether it be a mechanical failure, crash, or engine failure. This will be based on the listed reason for a driver failing to finish a race on Racing Reference.
  • This will be compared to the final two seasons of the Gen-6 car to see how much of an improvement there has been from the previous generation to the newest generation of cars.
  • While the Next-Gen car is a controversial topic amongst fans, it’s important to look at every aspect of the car. Is it as durable as it was hoped to be?

Next-Gen Car: 2022-2023

Here is a breakdown of how many cars failed to finish races throughout 2021. Most of the reasons were for crashes, but there were a few mechanical failures and engine failures mixed in as well. The most notable trend is that mechanical and engine failures only accounted for 21 of 164 DNFs in 2023.

  • Total DNFs: (224 in 2022) (164 in 2023) (388 Total)
  • Crashes/DVP/Other: (162 in 2022) (133 in 2023) (305 Total)
  • Mechanical Failures: (41 in 2022) (14 in 2023) (55 Total)
  • Engine Failures: (21 in 2022) (7 in 2023) (28 Total)

Here is a rundown of the average amount of DNFs per race each season since the Next-Gen car was introduced. This gives fans a better idea of how many drivers fail to finish for different reasons per race.

  • Total DNFs: (6.3 in 2022) (4.6 in 2023) (5.3 Total)
  • Crashes/DVP/Other: (4.5 in 2022) (3.7 in 2023) (4.2 Total)
  • Mechanical Failures: (1.1 in 2022) (0.4 in 2023) (0.8 Total)
  • Engine Failures: (0.6 in 2022) (0.2 in 2023) (0.4 Total)

Engine failures in particular happen on average every 2-3 races in the Next-Gen era. In 2023, that went down to every 5 races or so. Mechanical failures went from happening in every race in 2022 to happening around every other race in 2023.

Gen-6 Car: 2020-2021

Now, let’s compare those numbers to 2020 and 2021 with the Gen-6 car. In total, DNFs were not too far off from where they were in 2023. However, mechanical failures and engine failures in both years were far more prevalent than they were in 2023. Crashes are generally more prevalent in the Next-Gen era, which is down to the Next-Gen car being tougher to drive.

  • Total DNFs: (175 in 2020) (169 in 2021) (344 Total)
  • Crashes/DVP/Other: (108 in 2020) (121 in 2021) (229 Total)
  • Mechanical Failures: (53 in 2020) (27 in 2021) (80 Total)
  • Engine Failures: (14 in 2020) (21 in 2021) (35 Total)

Now, let’s take a look at the averages for 2020 and 2021. Again, this gives an idea of how often these things happened per race.

  • Total DNFs: (4.9 in 2020) (4.7 in 2023) (4.8 Total)
  • Crashes/DVP/Other: (3.0 in 2022) (3.4 in 2023) (3.2 Total)
  • Mechanical Failures: (1.5 in 2022) (0.8 in 2023) (1.1 Total)
  • Engine Failures: (0.4 in 2022) (0.6 in 2023) (0.5 Total)

Overall, engine failures and mechanical failures have gone down from the Gen-6 era. In the Gen-6 era, engine failures on average happened every other race with mechanical failures happening roughly every race.

Compare that to 2023, where mechanical failures happen roughly every 2-3 races and engine failures every 5 or so races. Overall, the Next-Gen car is not having as many parts failures as the Gen-6 car did.

How Durable is the Next-Gen Car?

Based on these statistics, this car is significantly more durable than the Gen-6 car. Engine failures and mechanical failures are far less prevalent. While 2022, was a bit rocky, 2023 saw a major drop. When it comes to how durable the Next-Gen car is, NASCAR seems to have accomplished that goal.

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Joshua Lipowski

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