NASCAR: Another change coming to the Next Gen car?

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/23XI Racing via Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/23XI Racing via Getty Images) /

When 23XI Racing announced that Kurt Busch had signed for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, they seemed to have revealed another change to the Next Gen car.

23XI Racing announced Friday that current Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kurt Busch is set to pilot the #45 Toyota in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

In doing so, they were the first team to officially unveil a wrapped version of the Next Gen car that shows a paint scheme.

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23XI Racing’s video also led to NASCAR’s confirmation that the car numbers will move from the door to closer to the wheel next season, a move that fans had already voiced their displeasure about even before it was made official.

This move also showed the single lug nut as opposed to the traditional five lug nuts that have been used on the current cars.

But with the unveiling of their paint scheme on the Next Gen car, 23XI Racing may have revealed another new detail as well.

In the video shown above, the roll cage on the #45 Toyota is painted red, showing yet another change for next year when the Next Gen car is officially introduced.

NASCAR cars have traditionally had grey roll cages, though Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. both ran red roll cages/bars in their 1990s Cup Series and then-Busch Series cars.

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On the side skirt, the car also shows a TRD sticker followed by a red stripe. While this is a minor detail, it seems as though the colored roll cage might correspond with the team’s manufacturer.

Colors supporting manufacturers is not a new concept in NASCAR, as several Toyota and Chevrolet paint schemes echo the colors of red and gold for their respective logos. Additionally, in the 2020 All-Star Race, the cars had underglow lights that gleamed the color of the respective manufacturer.

The red could also symbolize the team colors of 23XI Racing. They have had a heavy influence from co-owner and NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Jordan played the majority of his career for the Chicago Bulls, and their team colors just happen to be red and black.

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Whether it’s for the manufacturer or for the team itself, colored roll cages and/or bars seem to be yet another change coming to NASCAR along with the Next Gen car. With colored window nets having recently been approved by the sport, teams now may have even more creativity allowed on the new car set to race in 2022.