Cup playoffs continue NASCAR’s “crazy year” theme

Bristol, TN – The next-generation car suffered a durability nightmare on its debut on rough concrete at Bristol Motor Speedway with power-steering malfunctions, smashed tires and mechanical gaskets.

On top of all that, the pass was also tough for the 500 laps Saturday night on the 0.533-mile high-bank oval.

There were 12 lead changes (only four under the green), the lowest number in more than 13 years at Bristol, where the lack of tire wear made it easier for the leader to control the race. Race winner Chris Bucher drove the last 61 laps After two tire stops, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s driver maintained a steady gap over the runner-up Chase Elliot (Which took four frames on his last stop).

“I just went from an opportunity to lead the show to being part of the show” 10The tenthFinishing place Kevin Harvick NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch said. “Just hard to pass. The car is very fast through corners. He can’t race.”

The dearth of traffic combined with reliability issues has sparked a new round of complaints about the car, which has withstood mounting criticism in recent weeks for its heavy-duty bearing and faulty components. The Next Generation marks the first time in NASCAR’s 74-year history that the Cup Series flagships have used a “proprietary” model in which nearly all parts and chassis are built and supplied by single-source vendors to the entire field.

Denny Hamlin Tweet afterwards “We need NextGen 2.0. We just have to figure out who is going to pay for it.”

“Passing was impossible,” Hamlin told NBC Sports of Dave Burns. “It was just the kind of days where I needed to stay ahead at all costs and we couldn’t quite do that and we ended up with a flat tire that set us back and we were trying to play from that point on.

“(Next generation) was tough. I would like to see the racing improve overall. Some lap time difference a little bit. We’re just running there and it’s like we’re running faster in the turns than we are in the straights. It’s just very difficult to go through. We had some steering issues, and it looks like our Toyota teammates also have steering issues.”

All six Toyota vehicles in the field had problems, whether they were tires (Hamlin, Christopher Bell), Guidance (Martin Truex Jr.And the Bubba WallaceAnd the Ty Gibbs) or engine (Kyle Bush), and there were a series of tire problems across the field.

After running (and winning) the first stage of 125 laps without changing the tires, Brad Kiselowski Mysteriously, a tire slipped while he was ahead with 87 laps remaining. But the winning team owner defended the next generation’s passing ability while acknowledging that it still needed to improve.

“I restarted third (140) to go and was able to pass two front cars for the lead,” Keselowski said. “I feel like yeah, I can pass. It wasn’t easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. Would you like to see us keep working on cars? Absolutely. I’ve said this to NASCAR and I’ve said it to the media before and I’ll say it again: If it’s a car The next generation looks the same this year, we failed. We must continue to grow. We must continue to learn. We must continue to make it better.

“There will probably be some car owners who don’t want to hear that because changing cars costs money, but like anything, when you create something new like a next-generation car, there are going to be things that are improved, and there are things that are not. I think there are opportunities. To continue making this car better and racing with it even better. I think it’s still a step ahead than we were in many ways. I think we’ve had some great races because of this great parity. There are a lot of big pluses. Like any industry we’re likely to get caught up in the negatives more. Of the pluses, but I feel there are two camps.

“There’s everything wrong with this motor camp and there’s nothing wrong with this motor camp, and I’m trying to say, nah, it’s a very big step forward for our sport, actually very good, but I’d like to keep working on it. It seems like a lot of things Today, this polarization means there is no room for compromise. In my eyes, I’d like to see some small tweaks, but I’m grateful and proud of our sport and where the next generation car has taken us so far.”

The chorus of critics has grown louder in recent weeks.

Harvick Candid about safety concerns And the The fire that engulfed his number 4 Ford In the South 500 at Darlington Raceway. Stewart-Haas Racing driver invited next-generation suppliers for inferior parts, and Martin Truex Jr. Harvick refused after finishing last Saturday night due to a steering problem in his #19 Toyota.

“It blew out the seal and pushed all the (power steering) fluid onto the right front tire,” Truex told NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder. “Just incredible. What did Harvick say? Bad parts. … you literally can’t drive a car here without the power steering. Lose it, you’re done.”

Bristol has been the latest in a string of short track disappointments this season for the next generation.

After a lackluster appearance for the next generation at Martinsville SpeedwayNASCAR was testing the disc to the car for the October 30 race that will determine the championship field for the finish at Phoenix Raceway.

When asked if he would direct NASCAR toward working on aerodynamics or tires for Martinsville, Keselowski said, “I probably don’t have a perfect answer right now for that. I know we’re not going to get there unless we try. I think there’s some effort being put into these things.” I couldn’t tell what they were. We definitely have room to continue growing and making the best of it.”

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