Vince Moscar recently put out a video discussing the recent generations of NASCAR cars. The title explains everything when it comes to his opinion on the current generation of NASCAR cars.
With that being said, this is a fun opportunity to look at the recent generations of NASCAR cars. How does the Gen-7 NASCAR Cup Series car stack up when compared to other Cup Series cars from the most recent generations? Vince Moscar looks at three aspects of the cars as follows: safety, entertainment, and engineering
First, Moscar goes into depth about the safety of these NASCAR Cup Series cars. How has safety changed over the years?
When it comes to safety, the Generation 4 car is the only car that has produced any fatalities. However, it produced no fatalities following the 2001 Daytona 500 due to numerous safety enhancements. The Car of Tomorrow (Gen-5), was arguably the safest NASCAR car ever created with zero fatalities.
The Gen-6 car also produced zero fatalities, but it did have its fair share of high profile injuries. Most notably Aric Almirola in 2017 at Kansas, and Denny Hamlin in 2013 at Auto Club. Regardless, the safety record is pretty clean.
The Gen-7 car has received much scrutiny for its safety. In 2022, three drivers missed time due to injuries. This is far higher than the rate from the previous cars, and drivers were incredibly vocal regarding car safety.
Safety has definitely been under scrutiny in recent years for the Next-Gen car. It definitely does not seem as safe as the recent cars did, however, NASCAR is making efforts to rectify that.
Next, Moscar takes a look at the entertainment value of each race car. This is a part that can be difficult to analyze just because the opinion on the racing product can feel very relative.
Recently, we put out a piece taking a deep dive into how NASCAR fans view the on-track product. Thankfully, Jeff Gluck’s “Was it a good race?” poll makes it easier to find hard data on this subject.
This piece does show that, generally speaking, NASCAR fans seem like the Next-Gen product overall better than the Gen-6 product. However, the view on Gen-7 product on specific tracks such as road course and short tracks are much more mixed.
The Gen-4 car produced some good racing, but it also produced some snoozefests. The 2000 Daytona 500 is a great example as that race produced only 9 lead changes.
The Car of Tomorrow was the same way. Races such as the 2011 Auto Club 400 were great, but the 2012 Auto Club 400 was not so great.
Overall, this is simply a very difficult thing to judge, and it really comes down to personal preference. Each car’s on-track product had things it did well and things it did not do well. Some races were great and some races were not so great.
Finally, Moscar looks at engineering. More specifically, what type of engineering can be done on different generations of race cars?
One thing is for certain, NASCAR’s focus on engineering creativity has changed as time has gone on. From the early days in the sport where engineering creativity was at the forefront, to today where the cars are essentially spec.
The Car of Tomorrow was famously a spec race car, and some restrictions were loosened during the Gen-6 car. The Gen-7 car is now a spec race car once again. Is being a spec series necessarily better or worse?
There are benefits and detractors. A spec series means more competition, which this current race car has produced. However, a certain flavor of creativity is lost.
It may not be exceptionally exciting to watch Red Bull dominate in Formula One every week. However, one cannot deny that it is incredible to see the technological innovations that Red Bull have produced. Again, this is a personal preference thing.
It’s very difficult to say the Next-Gen car has gotten worse in this department objectively. Some may say yes, but some may say no.
At the end of the day, this video by Vince Moscar is an interesting watch. It is always great to see the perspective of someone who may not be entirely in line with your own viewpoint.
A lot of what he says is opinion, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s still the opinion of a NASCAR, and every side must be considered. That is how progress is made.