Nov 16, 2013; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish Jr (12) races Matt Kenseth (18) and Austin Dillon (3) during the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Gen 6 Success Still In Question As 2014 Season Approaches


Although NASCAR’s Gen 6 Race Car was touted as the move needed to create more door-to-door racing, thus providing more excitement for fans, I question its success. The car certainly looks much better on the track than the Cot Car, but did it really provide us with better racing? I don’t think so, but I don’t think the car is the entire problem.

After reading a post at Athlon Sports entitled NASCAR Media Roundtable: Grading The Performance of the Gen 6 car, I find myself agreeing with six of the top writers around NASCAR. The car looks nicer, but it  just didn’t provide much improvement on the track.

The best action in 2013 came at short tracks where the leaders catch the remainder of the pack quickly following a green flag. On 1.5 mile tracks, the leader after three laps, was able to pull out to a safe distance, leaving the best racing at positions 3-10. As a fan, I would rather see the best action at the front of the race, and that was rare.

It seemed that whoever was able to get out in clean air had a decided advantage until a caution flag or pit stops were involved. Many times throughout the season we got the late caution for hard-to-find debris on the track in order to bunch the cars back up for a three lap shoot out.

I particularly like Nick Bromberg’s response. I think the notable writer from Yahoo Sports is spot on with his assessment of the situation.

The car doesn’t deserve a failing grade, simply because we all knew that there would be growing pains. However, the car wasn’t an instant hit either, so let’s go with a C-minus. As much as NASCAR wants to tout the increase in total green-flag passes, passes for the lead were down measurably and races on intermediate tracks still got strung out significantly.

This non-engineer would take away a significant amount of aerodynamic downforce and make the cars much less reliant on the air around them. Fans would gladly trade a spate of qualifying speed records for drivers who are able to control their cars side-by-side with each other for more than a few laps after a restart.

In my opinion, when you put 43 of the best drivers in the world on a race track with equally prepared race cars and very little incentive to win, but just finish in the top 10, you are going to get snoozers like we saw at the 1.5 mile tracks in 2013. The rules provide for little wiggle room, so no one can gain an advantage.

In the past, we had the IROC Series where all of the Pontiac Firebirds were equally prepared, and the only difference was driver ability. The initial purpose for NASCAR Racing was for manufacturers and teams to compete through technical innovations, surperior engineering and driver talent. With NASCAR in control of the car, you get what we have. A season full of IROC racing.

I’m not paid for finding the answers to NASCAR’s attendance woes, but something needs to change if they want to put more butts in seats at venues around the country. What they are doing now, just isn’t working, and the Gen 6 car is only part of the problem.

You can follow Les on Twitter @Spin_47

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