Thursday (April 2) NASCAR announced it will delay the debut of the Next Gen car by one year, until the start of its 2022 season. The sanctioning body claimed it had no choice as a result of the current COVID-19 illness sweeping across the United States.
“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022,” confirmed NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst. “The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.”
NASCAR intended to debut their next generation chassis full-time in 2021. When the coronavirus pandemic initially began, there were some rumors NASCAR would scale back instead. A plan was rumored that would debut the new car in select events, similar to its rollout of the Car of Tomorrow in 2007.
The decision on the Next Gen car would ideally have taken place accompanying the 2021 schedule, which NASCAR desired to release by April 1. However, this pandemic also has delayed any changes to the schedule for next year.
NASCAR has currently postponed all sanctioned events until the Martinsville Speedway race weekend May 9. However, more postponements are expected over the coming weeks as the pandemic evolves. Martinsville’s date, in particular, is likely to be moved after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for all residents through June 10.