NASCAR officials have confirmed there will be a crash test next week on rear bumper updates to the Next Gen race car.
The test will be done at an Ohio crash test facility on Wednesday.
Since early to mid-season, NASCAR officials have been doing computer modeling on a new rear clip and the rear bumper structure. NASCAR Cup Series drivers have complained that the impacts with the Next Gen car are harder than ever before, most notably in rear impacts.
Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman have both been sidelined due to concussion-like symptoms after experiencing rear impacts. Busch has not raced since July after hitting the Turn 3 wall at Pocono Raceway in qualifying with the rear of his 23XI Racing Toyota.
Bowman pulled out of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway after the impact he felt last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet spun and hit the Turn 4 wall at Texas with the rear end, which he said on the radio afterwards was the hardest he’s ever hit.
Next Gen is a stiffer race car, according to the drivers. Daniel Suarez acknowledged Saturday morning at Talladega that even bump drafting at the superspeedway races is felt by the driver’s body.
“We’ve got to come together,” Bowman’s crew chief Greg Ives said Saturday about what’s next for the industry. “We can’t continue to think that it’s one individual’s fault or one sanctioning body’s fault or one race team’s fault.
“I think we have to come together as a group of drivers, as executives, as team owners, as crew chiefs and say, ‘Hey, what can we do to help make this better?’ understanding the problem, I think, is clear. Solving the problem is where it starts to get a little cloudy and the common expense of it to what the right move is.
“When you have a car of this nature, development slows down quickly compared to when a race team has it. We used to cut frame rails out and cut clips off in a matter of a day and put it back together. So that’s the cumbersome part of what we’re facing right now, but I think there are ways to get better without a lot of expense. The time frame has to be shorter on these types of developments.”
If the Wednesday crash test goes well, NASCAR will implement the changes to the rear bumpers for the 2023 season.