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Watching NFJJ: NASCAR’s Flying Cars Series

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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It sounds like a science fiction plot. It really does and it kind of is. But did you know that, at one time and recently, NASCAR was actually considering a flying cars racing series? I didn’t until I watched NFJJ’s video on YouTube, which I have attached below.

Flying cars is nothing new in the world of science fiction. Hell, the genre created the concept. But the funny thing about science fiction as a genre is that not all of their ideas are wildly outlandish and improbable. Sometimes, the predictions come true, maybe not in the way the author of the story initially predicted it would but they come to fruition in one form or another.

Now, in the still early 21st century, orders for flying cars are starting to be taken. The Jetson Aero Company (awesome name!) reportedly have hundreds of orders for their groundbreaking flying car, the Jetson 1, with hopes of fulfilling those order and having their cars hitting the skies within the next year or so. And, since the invention of the first horse-drawn carriage, humans have wanted to race vehicles. This is where NASCAR comes in.

Shortly following the conclusion of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season, NASCAR sent out a survey to the NASCAR Fan Counsel. The NFC is essentially a survey group that basically anyone can join. NASCAR distributes surveys to the fans, the fans fill them out, and everything about what was featured on the survey is supposed to be kept hush-hush.

NASCAR uses these surveys to gauge fan interests, and while NASCAR typically does what they want to do anyway, it is a way for them to get fan feedback and that feedback sometimes influences changes going on in the sport. The most obvious example of this is the change in number placement on the Cup Series cars.

Anyway, the survey in question was asking fans about what kinds of vehicles they would like to see at exhibition races. The options included SUVs, pickup trucks (though, we already have a truck series), and, you guessed it, flying vehicles. Out from the latter option, NASCAR made it clear that these flying race cars would be more closely related to drones than anything else, albeit big enough for a person to fit inside and pilot. The fact that NASCAR mentioned this in the fan counsel survey means that it did have a chance of actually happening, no matter how small of a chance it was.

In an article written by Adam Stern, the company named Airspeeder was mentioned. Airspeeder is an all-electric flying car racing series. The Airspeeder vehicles function like drones but are large enough to fit a single pilot in the cockpit, just like NASCAR mentioned in their survey. Does this mean that NASCAR and Airspeeder were close to finalizing a partnership of some kind? Maybe.

To further drum up some publicity, Airspeeder tweeted a photo of an Airspeeder racing vessel in a NASCAR pit box with crewmen photoshopped in. To further fuel speculation, Ben Kennedy told the Sports Business Journal that they were developing a 10-year plan, using a preliminary 2031 schedule as a blueprint.

NASCAR fans tend to be a little gun shy on any sort of change and as soon as this story broke, there was a massive outcry on the social media site. Since the backlash, NASCAR has been mute on whether or not flying cars are genuinely something that could happen in the future within the sport. So, to transition NFJJ had three thought-provoking questions:

Is NASCAR still pursing this idea?

Despite the fan backlash on Twitter, NASCAR indicated that the NASCAR Fan Counsel overwhelmingly indicated that they would like to see some airborne element included in their series. In 2021, NASCAR was actually considering a partnership with Airspeeder which could have gone into effect as early as 2022. But the year passed with the blink of an eye and no further news about a potential partnership was reported.

NFJJ could find no further comments about a partnership with Airspeeder since 2021 and, in his view, it is a good thing. He believes that the on track product on the ground needs to be perfected before NASCAR takes to the skies. A fair point. He also points out in the video, though, that it could still be on their list, albeit further down it than in 2021.

What is Airspeeder doing right now?

As reported by NFJJ in his video, Airspeeder has been making gains in recent years. The first race of the Airspeeder EXA Series took place in late 2022 in Australia. NFJJ was reported with what he found, a highlight reel that was only 2-minutes in length and an “obvious rip-off” of an F1 highlight reel on YouTube. He criticizes the commentators as being overly excited for what was essentially a 2-drone race. And yes, that’s exactly what they were–drones. NFJJ discovered that the EXA Series stands for the External Aviators Series. They’re racing drones. Not flying cars, drones. He then criticizes the Airspeeder series for being too big for its britches, so to speak. They always have these unobtainable deadlines and fall short of reaching them every single time.

They have expressed the desire to expand to a 10-team, 20-driver series (just like Formula 1) in the near future but nothing has come out about that. Mums the word.

Could flying cars in NASCAR happen?

NFJJ ends the video by admitting that while he does hope Airspeeder reaches all the goals they have set for themselves, he does not want NASCAR go take to the skies. He’d be open to a one-off exhibition but nothing beyond that. He believes that NASCAR should just focus on perfecting what they have rather than tapping into the unknown world of aviation racing.

What do you think, Daily Downforce readers and NASCAR fans? Would you be interested in seeing a NASCAR airborne series? Do you think it’s far-fetched and ridiculous to even discuss it? Would you like to see it just as a one-off exhibition? Let us know!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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