NASCAR officials met with Cup Series drivers for 75 minutes Saturday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway for what was said to be a candid and frank discussion on safety with the Next Gen car. The drivers also were told there would be changes in 2023.
Based on the results of the crash test done in Ohio earlier this week, the Next Gen car will get an updated rear clip, bumper structure and center clip next season. The results of the test matched what NASCAR had hoped for, after conducting computer modeling of changes throughout this season.
Reaction from the drivers to the meeting seemed mixed, but NASCAR felt it went well. In a brief update to the media afterward, a NASCAR spokesman said the feedback and comments from the drivers were the same as those they’ve been sharing with the media.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps was the one who gave drivers an update on the crash test and its results. John Patalak, managing director of safety engineering for NASCAR, led a lot of the discussion with the drivers while John Probst, senior vice president of innovation, gave a data presentation. However, because time was limited before practice and with the amount of discussion between both sides that took place, Christopher Bell doesn’t believe the entire presentation was made.
NASCAR will also be looking to form a safety group in the near future, which is something the drivers are passionate about. It will be part of the effort to be more collaborative with the drivers and ensure engagement within the industry increases.
While there is not one formally scheduled, NASCAR is open to holding a second meeting with the drivers Sunday if they want one.