First Look at New 2021 Daytona 500 NASCAR Race Car
• Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon posted a photo of the seventh-generation NASCAR racer, saying on Instagram that the new car "stopped on a dime."
• Hood vents, bigger wheels, and bigger brakes are all clues to what's coming.
• The new car is scheduled for its first race at the 2021 Daytona 500.
NASCAR teased one of two next-gen prototypes at Richmond today with two-time NASCAR champion Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing. The real cars aren't expected to turn left until the Daytona 500 in 2021. The goal for NASCAR is to return to the days of its race cars appearing more similar to the street version, more like dealership doppelgängers, making the term "stock car" more meaningful.
Dillon commented on some of the mystery behind the future seventh-generation NASCAR. "I really enjoyed driving the car," Dillon said. "You can see the finished product down the road. The [automakers] can make the body look really good, like a street car that you see on the road today. When it comes together and they all get their cars on the track, we're going to have something to work with that also looks really good.”
Welcome news for fans who love the noise air-impact wrenches make in the pits: these wheels still have five lugs, not center lock as rumor had it. Behind the lug nuts, there appear to be larger, possibly aluminum wheels, unlike the 15-inch steel wheels in NASCAR today. Larger wheels allow for bigger brakes, and faster cars typically require more stopping power. But that's all speculation at this point, as NASCAR says there is more development left on the new car.
Dillon said that in terms of design, the car also has a long way to go; Ford, Chevy, and Toyota are still working on what the outside of each car will actually look like. Thankfully for now, it doesn't resemble any of the crossovers the manufacturers have been replacing their sedans with.
NASCAR said earlier this year that rule changes made for 2019 were in preparation for the new car. Although the current sixth-generation stock car has been around since 2013, it received a handful of important updates, especially when Ford replaced its Fusion with the Mustang.
Remember when covering rust with Valvoline stickers transformed your mom's 1998 Ford Taurus into a NASCAR racer, which subsequently meant you were Mark Martin? Okay, maybe that was just me. No matter, we can’t wait to see the next-gen NASCAR in 2021, and what it might mean for technology in this ever evolving race series as it returns to its stock-car roots.
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