Does the NASCAR Next Gen Car Have a Rearview Mirror?

For the 2022 season, nearly every aspect of the NASCAR Cup cars is changing. These Next Gen race cars feature all-new transmissions, rear suspension, and aerodynmics. But many details of the new cars are evolving as well, such as the way drivers lookout behind them.

NASCAR teams can now opt for a rearview camera

A NASCAR race car parked in pit lane at Daytona with a row of other cars racing by in the background.
NASCAR Next Gen cars testing at Daytona | James Gilbert/Getty Images

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Between their roll cage and high spoiler, NASCAR “Generation 6” cars limited drivers’ rear visibility. The sport’s solution was a huge, convex rearview mirror blocking a bit of the windshield.

The 2022 NASCAR Next Gen superspeedway spec dials the rear spoiler height up to seven inches for Daytona and Talladega. This change will make rearward visibility even worse.

NASCAR is offering teams a different solution: a rearview camera. Unlike the backup camera in a modern vehicle, these rearview cameras will be on all the time.

These rearview cameras use a sort of “fisheye” lens for maximum visibility. Teams mount the actual camera unit just above the rear window.

We have seen the corresponding rearview screens installed in the center of the dashboard, or even to the left of the steering wheel. NASCAR may still be searching for the perfect location or screen placement may be up to the driver.

Some drivers want to keep their rearview mirrors

Closeup of the wing mirror on a NASCAR race car, reflecting the image of Bubba Wallace strapped into the driver's seat.
Bubba Wallace in the mirror of his #23 Toyota | Carmen Mandato/23XI Racing via Getty Images

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The new NASCAR rearview cameras have been dividing drivers. Some racing veterans refuse to use it altogether.

After early NASCAR Next Gen car testing, the press asked Denny Hamlin what he thought of the new rearview camera. The 40-year-old driver and team owner said, “I didn’t run it.”

Hamlin added, “For me personally, I have been in vehicles that have had a rearview camera…I didn’t like it. To me, it just kind of crosses my eyes, makes me a little dizzy when I look at it.”

What was Hamlin’s solution for the rearward visibility problems? “I think that they can fix some things with the spoiler, bring the carbon fiber part of the spoiler down…that will certainly help with the vision.” He concluded, “I think the camera’s probably something that I really won’t explore.”

Will Hamlin run the traditional convex mirror at the Daytona 500 or has he adopted the rearview camera after some more practice runs? We’ll have to watch to find out.

Some younger drivers are embracing the rearview camera

Driver Chris Buescher sits in a NASCAR car staring up at the rearview mirror or rearview camera screen.
Chris Buescher in a NASCAR Next Gen car | James Gilbert/Getty Images

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Other drivers love the new setup. Twenty-eight-year-old Chris Buescher said, “The rearview camera is something that is really neat…you can actually see quite a bit more than you’re used to.”

While the teams took the Next Gen cars on their first Daytona testing run Hamlin may have left his rearview camera switched off, but Buescher dialed his in.

Buescher said, “I used the camera a lot, and the spotter up on the roof to learn where cars are and be able to start getting a gauge of how close they really are.” If Buescher’s prep gives him any edge in the Next Gen car’s Daytona 500 debut, we may see some other drivers change their tune.

You can check out our NASCAR Next Generation car Ultimate Guide to learn more about the new spec or watch the rearview camera in action in the video below:

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