If you think redesigning a BMW grille sends shock waves through the car community, try redesigning a NASCAR race car. The big motorsports news this week is stock car racing’s debut of the seventh-generation Cup car platform. The “Next Gen” NASCAR racer follows the philosophy of its predecessor—the unimaginatively titled “Gen 6” design—to make the cars more aesthetically close to their stock counterparts, and more technically up-to-date with modern components, like oh, say, rack-and-pinion steering.
So far the response seems positive, with teams mostly pleased about changes that will keep costs down, and fans happy about the more recognizable cars. Certainly the feedback so far has been much better than the outrage about the fifth-gen redesign, the so-called “Car of Tomorrow,” which led to possibly the best Onion Motorsports spoof ever. The big challenge on the new car?