NASCAR’s all-new Next Gen cars will debut for the 2022 season. To dial in the new chassis, teams are meeting for midweek practice runs. Yesterday, the Next Gen cars ran into several problems at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. During testing, three cars spun out and Austin Dillon crashed into the wall, smashing his Next Gen #3 Bass Pros Shops Chevrolet.
Auston Dillon wrecked his #3 car during NASCAR Next Gen testing
Yesterday’s Next Gen car testing session began at 9 AM. Austin Dillon was one of the first drivers on the track. A line of cars raced around the Charlotte Motor Speedway tri-oval. Videos show Dillon was leading the way in his #3 Chevrolet. Then something went wrong.
Somehow Dillon veered off the track and got caught up in the grass inside turn two. When he got loose, he overcorrected and slammed into the wall. Officials immediately halted the 22-car test.
Spectators and the press watched as a tow truck pulled a heavily damaged #3 car off the track. The Next Gen cup car’s front clip was caved in, its fenders bent, and hood unable to close. With its 17-inch forged aluminum wheels pointing in opposite directions, it was obvious the front suspension had been damaged. Spectators could not tell whether the car’s V8 engine had sustained damage as well.
Thankfully, driver Austin Dillon was uninjured. Witnesses say he climbed atop his team’s car hauler truck to watch the other drivers. Later, Dillon even tweeted that he had “bit the wall.” Incredibly, his team at Childress Racing was able to rebuild the #3 car and return to the track.
Other drivers agree the Charlotte Motor Speedway was ‘slick’ that morning
Alex Bowman was testing his #48 Next Gen Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway alongside Dillon. Bowman commented on the conditions at turn number two after Dillon’s crash.
“It was really slick down there. Visibly, there wasn’t anything on the racetrack, but it was definitely slick when we got going. I don’t know what it was, whether it was just a cold track or dusty, but it was definitely slick that first run.”Alex Bowman
It might seem like a closed case. The early morning track was slick. Dillon was running the fastest, ahead of the pack. Then he slid out on corner number two. The only problem is that Dillon’s crash was far from the day’s only mishap.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson spun out later in the day
Several other NASCAR Next Gen cars spun out during yesterday’s test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One driver spun out so often he joked it left him, “dizzy.”
First, Cup champion Kyle Larson reports he “spun on the apron trying to get up to speed in the morning.” Then, driver and owner Denny Hamlin spun out in his TRD Racing Toyota. As he was navigating turn four, the rear end of his car came around. He was able to skid to a stop and keep the car off the wall, but barely.
Shortly after Hamlin, the Hendrick Chevrolet spun out on turn four as well. Hendricks Motors did not confirm who was driving. Then, Larson spun out “trying to go faster.”
Bowman said he could drive the sixth-generation NASCAR Cup car, “really hard.” He added that it excelled at the “slick bumpy racetracks” like Charlotte. He specified, “You could run the thing sideway all day and not spin it out.”
The sixth-generation NASCAR Cup cars feature an aerodynamic element, a flat panel, down the right side of the body. This panel keeps the car stable while turning left at high speeds. The Next Gen cars are more like stock sports cars in that their bodies are symmetrical. With additional downforce, they can turn both left and right at high speeds. But obviously, driving the Next Gen race car will take some getting used to.