CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR Chairman Brian France said it’s a simple why the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup Series race car was developed.
“The goal is real simple -- We want the closest competition possible,” France said Tuesday at the 31st annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour, hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway.
A video to officially introduce the Sprint Cup Series’ new car was shown during a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which emphasized how the car now has a manufacturer-unique body panels to better resemble the cars found in showrooms across the country.
More than NASCAR official stated it puts the “stock” back in stock car racing.
The car has been all the buzz on the media tour with three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart talking about the No. 14 Chevrolet Impala SS he will race during the upcoming season.
“It’s the coolest looking car of the ones we’ve run in the Cup Series,” Stewart said. “I know the philosophy of what you win with on Sunday, you sell in Monday. I’m excited with how Chevy is involved in our sport.
“But the cars are incredibly fast and they drive well. If they race as well as they drive, it’s going to be a great year.”
France talked about the involvement of the manufacturers and the race teams. He added NASCAR worked with them far beyond any previous level.
“The new car, you’re seeing what we’re started a few years ago with the unprecedented work with our partners,” France said. “We want our promse of the closest racing in the world. We’re using a lot of third-party expertise to accomplish that.”
In his decades around the sport, NASCAR President Mike Helton said there’s never been anything quite like the development of this car.
“There has never been as much effort put into a race car to get it ready to go racing,” Helton said. “It’s a strong start with the Gen 6. If it requires some tweaking, we will do that. So far, it all indicates we’re on the right track.”
Some tweaking may be required as the car is 150 pounds lighter than the previous car, and is running much faster speeds. Helton added it was important to keep in mind the recently-retired “Car of Tomorrow” was developed with safety in mind.
“We intended to make racing better, keep costs down and safety was paramount,” he said. “But, we were in tune with the manufacturers. We had to get the cars closer to the cars they are making.”
Also announced at the function was the redesign of Daytona International Speedway’s exterior, the formal word that NASCAR was extending its broadcasting relationship with FOX for eight years beyond 2013 and a new track-drying system was coming. Instead of a jet drier, Helton describe it as a gang of pipes pulled behind a pickup truck which uses compressed air.
“You hear the word innovation a lot,” France added. “You’ll see that with a new track-drying system. All of auto racing will benefit from this.”
France admitted there had been some mistakes by the sanctioning body with the old car, which used a common template and had fans complaining how one couldn’t differentiate a Chevy from a Ford or a Toyota.
“Obviously we got away from some things that historically had worked well for us,” France said. “The manufacturer rivalry, which we're excited about; the relevance issue with the car manufacturers. I think we put a lot more focus in the new car into the rules package surrounding the car. I can tell you we didn't put nearly as much science into the old car as we tried to achieve better racing.
“No sense in worrying about what happened in the past; we're excited about the future.”