By bob pokras
Fox Sports activities NASCAR Writers
Talladega, Ala. – with a concussion with one other driver this 12 months, NASCAR Cup Sequence Drivers enter the race on Sunday with added panic at arguably the game’s most harmful observe.
They are saying they’re going to nonetheless attempt to win at Talladega Superspeedway—as they receives a commission to do—however they expressed some disappointment with NASCAR’s new Subsequent Gen automobile two days after Hendrick Motorsports driver alex bowman introduced that he could be pulling out of Sunday’s race on account of signs of concussion.
Jeff Andrews on Alex Bowman’s harm
Hendricks Motorsports president Jeff Andrews says Alex Bowman didn’t affiliate something he was feeling as signs of a concussion till Wednesday evening.
Bowman was wasted early within the race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, however ended the incident. Hendricks Motorsports president Jeff Andrews mentioned he additionally drove a number of laps in a dash automobile on Tuesday in a take a look at with Jimmy Johnson, however he didn’t affiliate signs with the crash.
kurt bushow He’s lacking his eleventh consecutive race on account of harm in an accident at Pocono. Each Busch and Bowman’s accidents have been brought on by the rear of the automobile hitting a wall earlier than it.
“You realize there is a excessive threat,” mentioned the driving force and 23XI Racing co-owner Denny Hamlin, which can begin within the entrance row on Sunday. “The Talladega Wreck is right here that took Kurt [in April] This 12 months was a think about a everlasting harm, threatening or ending the season on account of one of many hardest hits right here to get on the road within the spring.
“All these hits add up. They do not simply go, ‘Okay, you survived this, you are good to go for the subsequent one.'”
Denny Hamlin: The following technology automobile wants a redesign
Denny Hamlin believes NASCAR hasn’t listened to drivers who’ve expressed issues concerning the security of Subsequent Gen Automobiles.
hamlin and Kevin Harvick have been probably the most outspoken drivers, and each attended Friday’s assembly of the driving force council — open to all drivers — presided over by former driver Jeff Burton, who up to date him about his conversations with NASCAR.
Hamlin stays probably the most vocal, saying the problems with the automobile are the results of “poor management” and that new management is required from “begin on the high and work your method up”.
“When Kevin and I are gone, somebody has to step up and be the voice of motive and name issues out,” Hamlin mentioned. “I do know all these younger individuals are completely happy to be right here.
“They will not be completely happy residing right here when their brains can be scrambled for the remainder of their lives.”
Nevertheless, younger drivers are beginning to converse up. Chase Elliot, 26, gave his strongest feedback but. NASCAR had spent a number of years growing the subsequent gen automobile, with restricted growth in 2020 after the pandemic delayed its roll-out from 2021 to 2022.
“You’ve got all these years of expertise, data, racing time, crashing and constructing these vehicles and the groups that work on them – it simply blows me away that we are able to have one thing new in 2022 that It offers all of the expertise and all this time and the expertise of so many tremendous proficient folks on this sport, and we enable it to go backwards, particularly with security,” Elliott mentioned.
“It is very shocking to me that we enable this to occur.”
Chase Elliott ‘fears the sport has gone backwards’
Chase Elliott expressed concern for the protection of the subsequent gen automobile, however mentioned he was nonetheless assured that enhancements could be made.
Elliott is the game’s hottest energetic driver, so when he says one thing, he resonates with followers. He mentioned he wouldn’t run any in another way on Sunday.
“So far as the race is worried, sadly or thankfully, nonetheless you need to see it, it’s important to go and do your finest to attempt to win and do all the things you your self had prior to now. Used to present it a chance to win the race,” Elliott mentioned.
“I actually do not see that you’ve a ton of choices, aside from attempting to belief within the course of that issues are going to get higher and hope we’re taking steps in the correct path, and we’re doing it.” in a well timed method.”
one other veteran, Brad Keselowskimentioned that he expects drivers to doubtlessly keep away from some pointless steps that may very well be thought of a threat.
“Whether or not they’ll admit it or not, there is not any doubt that you simply run in another way whenever you’re extra afraid of getting harm,” Keselowski mentioned.
“All of us must make enterprise choices there. … Racing was so aggressive for some time as a result of no person was afraid of getting harm. Who is aware of? Possibly it will come again a bit, which might be not a foul factor.”
Brad Keselowski on Racing in Talladega
Brad Keselowski mentioned he wouldn’t anticipate a single-file race, however some drivers could possibly keep away from extra pointless strikes at Talladega on Sunday.
Harvick wasn’t so certain.
“You have been right here lengthy sufficient, you recognize we’re simply not alleged to drive,” Harwick mentioned. “The aggressive nature abounds. It’s important to put all that apart, and whenever you’re carried out you are worried about the remaining.”
The place does NASCAR go from right here? Step one could be to attempt to acquire the arrogance of skilled drivers.
NASCAR performed two crash exams with the robotic controls of the Subsequent Gen automobile in Talladega in October and December final 12 months, and a spokesperson mentioned it was the automobile most examined relating to pc modeling. NASCAR has almost twice the variety of accidents within the Cup this 12 months, and the accidents are recording extra in angle and velocity, the spokesperson mentioned.
NASCAR is testing a brand new rear clip and rear bumper building in a crash take a look at at a facility in Ohio subsequent week. No updates for the automobile will arrive till subsequent 12 months.
“An important factor is that it is not only a rear clip,” Harwick mentioned. “It is a entrance clip, a rear clip—a entrance and rear finish place. It is not simply the rear of the automobile.”
Andrews mentioned NASCAR can be taking a look at entrance bumper building.
Hamlin mentioned he was inspired by the take a look at, however says extra must be carried out.
“It is the primary aim proper now for NASCAR to exchange the rear clip,” Hamlin mentioned. “The automobile wants an entire redesign – entrance, rear, in all places. … We threw up pink flags a 12 months in the past, they usually did not reply.
“They simply saved insisting that this race automobile needs to be on the race observe in any respect prices.”
Harvick is skeptical of NASCAR’s reactions to drivers as a result of, he mentioned, drivers have complained about how laborious Subsequent Gen works for greater than a 12 months (some wasted in testing) and did not have as a lot response as he’d see. need.
“The extent of confidence is clearly not the place it must be mounted,” Harwick mentioned. “They must earn the arrogance degree to react quick sufficient to do the issues it takes.
“And the opinions of the drivers, particularly relating to the protection facet of issues, ought to be extra essential than the information.”
A gathering is deliberate between NASCAR and the drivers subsequent Saturday the place NASCAR goes so far as what knowledge NASCAR is telling NASCAR and what NASCAR is doing.
“The frustration lies in the truth that we now have two folks and one who cannot stroll – I do not know why that ought to be the case,” Harwick mentioned. kodi ware, who has been working this weekend with a damaged proper ankle. “Take a look at the figures. [Ware’s wreck] Should not have been so tough.
“In an older automobile it does not go that prime. The info is dangerous as a result of the automobile is dangerous. We made it worse and the hits are harder as a result of the automobile hits more durable.”
Joey Logano on the Subsequent Gen Crash Check
Pleasure Logano mentioned subsequent week’s crash take a look at is vital to creating certain any adjustments to the rear of the automobile do not compromise the gas cell sector.
Testing is crucial in Ohio to keep away from unintended penalties.
“You Cannot Simply Say, ‘Hey Soften It,'” Former Cup Champion Pleasure Logano Instructed. “As a result of there are different issues that will come into play. You’ve got a gas cell in there.
“You do not need that to blow up. … We have now to ensure we now have some crumbling areas they usually’re in the correct locations.”
Bob Pokras covers NASCAR for Fox Sports activities. He has spent a long time overlaying motorsports, together with the final 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting Information, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Seaside) Information-Journal. Observe him on Twitter @bobpocrasand join Fox Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pokras,
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