The long, drawn-out wait is almost over.
NASCAR announced, Wednesday, that manufacturers will show off their seventh-generation Cup Series cars, May 5, at Charlotte, North Carolina.
The “Next Gen” car was originally slated to debut this season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed NASCAR and the manufactures’ work on the new car. Instead of rushing the project to meet its initial deadline, NASCAR decided to delay the seventh-generation car’s debut to 2022.
Chevy, Ford and Toyota tested their new cars in a private session at Martinsville Speedway, last week. Each manufacture also wrapped the car with camouflage to mask the shape of the cars. However, NASCAR may have somewhat spoiled the designs.
NASCAR announced the date via Twitter with a graphic proclaiming the seventh-generation car as the “rebirth of stock.” If that tagline is to be believed, the new racecars will closely resemble the Chevy Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Toyota Camry/Supras consumers can buy.
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 7, 2021
Rebirth of stock in the Cup Series
Making the cars better resemble their showroom counterparts has been NASCAR’s on-again, off-again goal since the early 1980s. The third-generation Cup Series car debuted in 1981 and each of its models matched its showroom counterparts. However, the car proved unstable leading to NACAR relaxing its regulations on the shapes of the cars. This ultimately created the “aero war” of the mid-80s.
By 1990, the Cup Series racecars barely resembled cars consumers could buy. NASCAR ditched it’s “strickly-stock” bodies with the introduction of the fourth-generation car in 1991. The fifth-generation veered further from the showroom counterparts. All four manufacturers fielded almost identical racecars from 2007-to-2012.
Although the fifth-generation car produced great racing, fans weren’t keen on the designs which prompted NASCAR to develop the sixth-generation bodies. The new racecars greatly resembled their street-going versions at first. But as the generation progressed, the allure of the sixth-generation car wore off.
It’s clear that NASCAR designed the sixth-gen. car with the Chevy SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry in mind. When Chevy and Ford switched to the Camaro and Mustang, their racecars no longer matched the streetcars consumers could buy. The sixth-generation car is also not a good racecar. NASCAR has tried multiple aero and engine packages to fix the car, and nothing has produced a consistently good product.
NASCAR’s primary goal for the seventh-generation car is to produce better racing, but the secondary goal of building a car its fans like to look at is almost as important. In the minds of many die-hard NASCAR fans, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” is still a goal the manufactures should pine for.
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