NASCAR drivers are currently in the midst of the 2021 Cup Series schedule, but racing's sanctioning body is looking toward the future. NASCAR revealed on Wednesday that fans will soon have the first look at the next generation of stock cars, which will debut in 2022. There will be a massive reveal on May 5 that shows off the Next Gen car.
NASCAR issued a release on Wednesday and confirmed that it will unveil all three Next Gen cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of auto racing's most iconic tracks. There will be full looks at the Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota bodies, as well as updated information about the specs and unique elements. For example, the fans will get to see the single-lug wheels up close. The event will begin at 3 p.m. ET and will feature NASCAR executives, top drivers, and manufacturer executives.
Several fleeting glimpses of the Next Gen cars have surfaced on social media. NASCAR has put several Cup Series drivers behind the wheel of the new rides over the past couple of years and provided them with the opportunity to put in some laps at a variety of tracks. However, all of these cars had "busy, camouflaged paint schemes" to disguise their appearance. The tests also took place without fans on hand to watch or take photos.
As an example, Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing took the Next Gen car around Richmond Raceway in mid-March. He was previously scheduled for two full days of testing, but inclement weather forced NASCAR to limit the session to only one day. Wallace was the latest in a string of drivers to test out the car, a list that includes Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, and Erik Jones.
NASCAR revealed one of the major changes in March 2020. The sanctioning body confirmed that the wheels would go from five lug nuts to only one. This change coincided with NASCAR increasing the wheel size from 15 inches to 18. NASCAR's John Probst, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, said that the size increase was done to correlate with modern production cars.
"For us, we felt like from a standpoint of the wheel is that we wanted to get to an 18-inch wheel, an aluminum wheel," Probst said. "Once you get to an 18-inch aluminum wheel, the next step for us is to make sure that from a durability standpoint under racing conditions is that it will accept the durability that we need to finish races and then also finish multiple races. To do that, the single nut was our only option."
While the fans wait to see the next generation of stock cars, they will continue to watch the current 2021 Cup Series season. The drivers had a week of rest over Easter weekend, but they will be back in action on Saturday night. They will head to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500. The race will take place at 7:30 p.m. ET.