Generation 6 car report card: Room for improvement
NOV 24, 2013 12:06p ET
With the conclusion of our 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, we've all now had a full year of the new Generation 6 car that was introduced into the Cup series at the beginning of the season. I think we all would agree it came pretty darn close to what we all hoped it would be. That said, did it measure up to everything NASCAR hoped it would be? I think the answer is probably not.
I think NASCAR was hoping for better side-by-side racing. In fact there is a NASCAR test coming up at Charlotte Motor Speedway to work on that very issue. What you can't ignore is the fact this was a record-breaking car in 2013. We saw some incredible racing and speeds that came out of it. Don't lose sight that almost 50 percent of the races in 2013 were won by a different driver. That's pretty impressive.
One of the big things that can't be overlooked is the fan support. The fans seemed to connect back to this car and the three distinct manufacturer body styles more than they have for many a year. By that I mean a Ford looked like a Ford. A Chevy was a Chevy and a Toyota looked like a Toyota.
I was really pleased that NASCAR let it run a full season before making changes to it. Now they are being aggressive to attack the areas where they believe it needs work. With just a few tweaks, I think we can see an even more competitive car. I think the Gen-6 car has been such a positive for our sport.
I think it just needs some aero tweaks. What these drivers need to be able to do is when they catch another car; they can pass that car and not have to deal with those two dreaded words we all hate to hear - "dirty air." We have to get it back to where the dirty air does not affect the racing as much as it does now. I think the dirty air situation has hurt the possibility of some more dramatic finishes or more passing. They thought when they designed the new Gen-6 car they had cured it but obviously while it's helped, it has not completely eliminated it.
I am really curious to see what areas they will work on next to continue its evolution. There's a great possibility that this could turn out to be the best race car ever in NASCAR if they can fine-tune it the way I think they can. I think their technology and ability to maintain a level playing field for all competitors is there.
Look for NASCAR to address horsepower versus the aero platform as the areas they need to focus on the most. If that area can be tweaked some, look for even a better car and better racing than we already had in 2013. That just sets the stage for an awesome 2014 season, which believe it or not, is just around the corner.