One of the most attractive things about this new Generation 6 car is that we are finally going back to having manufacturer identity. A Ford is a Ford, a Toyota is a Toyota and a Chevrolet once again looks like a Chevrolet. That is something that has been extremely lacking in our sport for a number of years.
In the past, and by that I mean before the Car of Tomorrow was introduced, was a time in our sport when maybe one manufacturer would find an edge and become somewhat dominant. Naturally, the other manufacturers would complain to NASCAR and the politicking would begin.
Now, this entire project to bring the Gen-6 car to fruition has been going on for quite some time among NASCAR, all the manufacturers and the teams. What we see beginning this weekend for the Sprint Unlimited race is what each manufacturer wanted for its race cars.
What I think we might see is a situation where one manufacturer might be really good at Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Michigan International Speedway and even California Speedway in how its car has been balanced out. Then it wouldn’t surprise me to see the other two manufacturers a lot stronger on the one- and 1.5-mile racetracks.
How the manufacturer picked its car to balance out might be a plus at some of the tracks while at the same time might be a minus at other tracks. That’s definitely one of the storylines we will want to follow as the season unfolds.
I think if we do see any kind of politicking after the fact, I believe NASCAR will remain steadfast in telling the manufacturers, “You asked for this initially — we gave it to you and now you have to live with it.” NASCAR did its due diligence, and it knows these balance points. It will be ready when manufacturers come asking for a change. NASCAR will know exactly what they are asking for and why.
This new Gen-6 car is probably the most unified, openly developed race car in any racing series that I am aware of in the world. It is pretty amazing to me when you see how hard NASCAR worked in the wind tunnel and at the racetrack with the manufacturers, plus all the teams, to come up with this new race car that everyone is raving about.
The reality is we are all still racers and if a racer thinks someone has the edge, then he or she is going to complain. NASCAR knows that, and we all know that. It’s a given. My point, though, is every manufacturer was part of this new car’s development every step of the way, so there’s really not a lot of room down the road to go back and ask for changes.