Chase Elliott Rips NASCAR's Next Gen Car, Says Safety Standards Have Gone 'Backward'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 1, 2022

FORT WORTH, TX - SEPTEMBER 24: Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) looks on during Saturday morning practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 race on September 24, 2022 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chase Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion, spoke out Saturday against the Next Gen car due to his belief that the cars aren't sufficiently protecting drivers.

According to the Associated Press, Elliott said:

"These types of incidents that result in injuries ... I'm not a doctor, but I've watched a lot of cars back into the wall and the guy would be fine. No one's immune to it. It could be me next week. It could be any of my peers or fellow competitors. I just hate to see us go backward, and I'm afraid that we have."

Elliott's comments came in the wake of Alex Bowman, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, suffering a concussion last week after the rear of his car hit a wall at Texas Motor Speedway.

There has been a rash of injuries in NASCAR's top series this season. In addition to Bowman's concussion, Kurt Busch continues to deal with a concussion, and Cody Ware is racing despite a broken foot.

Elliott is just the latest high-profile driver to speak out since Bowman got concussed, echoing both Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick:

Denny Hamlin @dennyhamlin

Pretty disappointing that our sanctioning body refuses to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for drivers getting hurt. It’s the same THEY said. WE knew better. It’s wrong these drivers continue to get taken advantage of by the system.

Kevin Harvick @KevinHarvick

Completely unacceptable that those in charge have let things get to this point. I remember it like it was yesterday <a href="https://twitter.com/dennyhamlin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dennyhamlin</a> in the presentation of the new car to the drivers pleading that the car was to stiff. Data didn’t agree. TIME TO LISTEN TO THE DRIVERS CRASHING THEM! <a href="https://t.co/Q9urnlbaWa">https://t.co/Q9urnlbaWa</a>

Per the AP, drivers are of the belief that NASCAR needs to soften the back end of the cars. The current design seemingly does not absorb impact like it should, leaving drivers to take the brunt of the blow when the car crashes.

Elliott insisted that the issues with the Next Gen car are unacceptable since NASCAR had plenty of time to work out any potential issues before introducing it at the start of this season:

"Heck, we had plenty of time to test this car and crash it, do all the things that we need to do to ensure that some of these things that are happening now weren't happening. We had a ton of time to do that, and this car was delayed an entire calendar year on top of that. We got an extra year of time to work on it, and we're still in this position.

"There's no excuse for going backward. We have too many smart people, too much technology, too many years of crashing. We should not be in the position we are in. When you come out with a new product, you should take [a step] forward, not stay the same or go backward, especially in the safety category."

The concern among drivers has perhaps been ratcheted up this week since the YellaWood 500 will be held Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, which is as fast and susceptible to crashes as any track on the schedule.

Sunday marks a key playoff race in the Round of 12, as drivers are looking to stamp their ticket to the Round of 8, which begins in two weeks at Las Vegas.


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