UPDATE 3: One of the most significant decisions NASCAR officials will face in the coming weeks will not just be about a revised season schedule.
With COVID-19 forcing all professional sports to a halt, NASCAR will likely be full steam ahead through the end of the year when it can start holding races again. However, the sport was also deep into a massive project that has also paused: the development and testing of Next Gen.
The new car is scheduled to roll out in 2021, although the question now, is should that timeline be adjusted?
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told RACER that the practical reality points toward there being a delay. A stay at home order began in North Carolina on Monday, March 30, and will last at least 30 days. Which is at least 30 more days of work not being done in the sport.
“Candidly, I think as an industry, our priority right now needs to be in salvaging and recovering our racing season that we’ve pressed pause right in the middle of,” said Wilson.
Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus agreed that the new car needs to be delayed, even while recognizing the effort that has been put into it already.
“We can race at least a portion, if not all of 2021, and get it ready for 2022,” said Knaus. “That would make a lot of sense to me, but that is not a decision for me to make by any means.”
See much more at Racer.
UPDATE 2: The Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer reports that no decision has been made yet. Team owners are split on how to proceed.
Correction. This call was not today. There was an RTA call today, but it was not with NASCAR.
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) March 30, 2020
UPDATE: NASCAR did not issue a statement Monday. Series officials are having discussions with teams and suppliers to determine the impact associated with postponements and adjustments of NASCAR’s goals for the new car.
The Next Gen car is viewed as a long-term cost-savings measure for teams and will include common parts from vendors. The Athletic reported that the delay in bulk manufacturing of the chassis and other parts will lead to the delay in the debut of the Next Gen car in 2021.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said last November that teams would take delivery of the car around this July. The COVID-19 pandemic has put that schedule in jeopardy. NASCAR has postponed Next Gen tests at Atlanta, Bristol and Dover. No makeup dates have been announced.
— NBC Sports —
ORIGINAL POST: NASCAR planned to begin the 2021 season with the Next Gen car. However, with the sport shut down for an unknown period of time and the inability to test the car, NASCAR is expected to delay implementation until a later point in 2021, according to Jordan Bianchi of the Athletic.
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) March 30, 2020
— Jordan Bianchi (@Jordan_Bianchi) March 30, 2020