CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With just over three weeks remaining until the debut of the Gen-6 race car, NASCAR is convinced its product will be better this season.
Much of the behind-the-scenes effort last year was spent on developing the car, which hits the track Feb. 15 at Daytona International Speedway for the first practice of SpeedWeeks.
The car was a collaborative effort between NASCAR, manufacturers and teams, which NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Tuesday was “unparalleled in my 34-plus years in the sport.” He said the car has “fans and the drivers as anxious as a six year old on Christmas morning.”
The car was the centerpiece of NASCAR’s stop Tuesday on the annual Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It was NASCAR chairman Brian France who demanded a new car in a desire to tighten up the racing, and he said Tuesday he’s so far “quite satisfied” with what he’s seen in testing the last two months. NASCAR has twice tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and was at Daytona earlier this month.
But it remains to be seen how NASCAR will determine if the Gen-6 car is truly a success. The first true test of the car won’t come until the third race of the season, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first 1.5-mile track on the schedule.
The racing has struggled most at the intermediate tracks, where passing was difficult and cars spread out into single-file lines. France was asked how NASCAR will know if it has achieved what it had hoped with this new car.
“I think we’ll measure (success) by lead changes, we’ll measure it by how it races, we’ll measure it by how the drivers feel about it, and knowing that not everybody will always love every rules package or thing that we do, that’s for sure, but we’ll look at it very simply,” he said. “Everything is designed to have closer competition, and we’ll see. I’m quite confident that I know we’re going to make improvements.”
Unlike the last new car, the much maligned “Car of Tomorrow,” drivers have been complimentary toward the Gen-6 during the three offseason test sessions.
At least one person remains unconvinced that a new car is the quick fix to NASCAR’s problems: Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith called again for slowing down the stock cars to improve the on-track product.
“If they can slow the cars down racing would be more competitive,” Smith said.
France said he believes NASCAR is on the right track, based on the collaboration that went into the development of the Gen-6 car and the push to create a race car that again resembles what the automakers sell in the showroom.
“We worked a lot closer with the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and others to do two things: To get a car that looks from a technical standpoint and a resemblance standpoint similar to what is in the showroom, and to use innovation and the research and development center to work on making sure that our promise of the closest and most competitive racing in the world is kept,” France said.
France also admitted mistakes were made with the CoT, which fans and drivers both disliked. The car also was the furthest removed from the product sold in the showroom.
“You’re always 100 percent accurate when you get to look backward, right?” he said. “Intended to try to make racing better, and costs were a huge thing, as they still are today. We did significantly bring costs down, and safety was a big thing, as it is now. We significantly improved that. But it would be fair to say that in doing those things, we weren’t as in step as we are today with the manufacturers.”
NASCAR also said it expects a new track-drying system it developed to dramatically reduce drying time after rain. The system uses compressed air and heat; France said it is designed to dry a track like Martinsville in 15 minutes and could cut the drying time at Daytona from two and a half hours to 30 minutes.
“It’s going to be a spectacular thing, and all auto racing will benefit from this as we go down the road,” France said.
More Related Stories
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to participate in peace talks
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11