Denny Hamlin hasn’t shied away from sharing his thoughts on the Next Gen car. In the past, the three-time Daytona 500 winner has talked about potential safety concerns and heat issues inside the car, which debuts in February 2022 in The Clash at the LA Coliseum.
Interestingly, during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway last week, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver learned a couple of new and embarrassing things about the car, and he revealed them during a conversation on Twitter this week. It’s safe to say fans certainly won’t be happy about one of them.
Denny Hamlin addressed Next Gen car safety issues
In July, Denny Hamlin didn’t hold back his feelings when talking about the Next Gen car’s potential safety issues and NASCAR’s lack of transparency in addressing those concerns.
“When it comes to the crash stuff, I’ve asked questions to two different NASCAR people, executives. I can’t get a response. That, to me, makes it even scarier,” Hamlin said. “Man, the disconnect right now between all the parties — NASCAR, the tracks, and all the drivers, it’s tough right now. It’s not a good place.”
Hamlin said moving forward it would be imperative for drivers to work together to ensure they are driving the safest cars possible.
“In seven years, I’ll be a team owner only, but these drivers, they need to get organized. Their safety is at risk,” he said. “They need to know what they’re getting strapped into. So they need to get organized and they need to have a voice. They deserve to have a seat at the table, whatever that table is.”
Denny Hamlin reveals the embarrassing reason he spun out during Charlotte testing
In early September, Hamlin and several other drivers tested the Next Gen car at Daytona. After that session, he noted how the heat buildup inside the vehicle was unbearable.
“We are the steak and the floorboard is the grill. We cook from the bottom up,” Hamlin said during a conversation on Racing Spaces on Twitter.
This week Hamlin returned to that same forum and talked about testing at Charlotte. During that discussion, he surprisingly revealed the embarrassing reason why he spun out during his test with no cars around him.
“The manual that they actually give you to put the car together has the left rear control arm upside down. So that’s a problem,” Hamlin said. “So my rear end was actually skewed to the wrong side because the manual. I mean, we triple-checked. The manual has it wrong. It’s upside down. We got that fixed.
“I told them, ‘Man this thing is driving sideways. I don’t understand.’ It has no side force to begin with. Why am I on edge so bad? And then I spun out. But then they’re like, ‘Oh we’ve got an issue with the left rear there.’ They fixed that.”
Admits Next Gen cars are slower than Truck Series
The driver, who has 46 Cup Series wins to his credit, including a couple in 2021, said the testing revealed that the heat issues had been resolved while exposing other concerns like a lack of speed in the cars. He said a main reason for that is because NASCAR has not conveyed a clear message on its objective with the intermediate tracks.
“First thing you’ve got to figure out is what is the goal? Are we wanting tight pack racing at a mile and a half? If that is the case, then I hate to say it, we’re still going too fast. Fans are going to hate it,” Hamlin said. “If we need to go faster — so, say the times, we would need to speed them up a second to make the fans happy. We can’t be slower than the trucks, which right now we will be. If they don’t like that, then we need to add a crazy amount of grip to the cars. If you want to add speed, you have to add a s***-ton of grip through the tires, through the aero more than likely to make sure everyone is just dead planted to the racetrack.”
Slower than the Truck Series. Manuals providing incorrect assembly instructions. NASCAR plans on running multiple tests on the Next Gen car before its debut and based on Hamlin’s remarks, there’s still a lot of work to do.