After a somewhat messy race at Indianapolis over the weekend, NASCAR driver and “Race For The Championship” star Daniel Suarez is putting some of the blame on the Next Gen cars that were introduced this season.
In 2022, the talk of NASCAR has been the new vehicles hitting the scene, which are designed to put drivers behind the wheel of a more modern vehicle as well as create more uniformity on the track. If every racer is driving relatively the same car with the same bones, it becomes more about the driver and less about the car — in theory.
However, the decision has been met with some controversy and now, Suarez is highlighting a potential unintended consequence of the Next Gen cars after seeing Cup Series racers trade paint a lot more.
Most recently, he was involved in a collision at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway toward the end of a chaotic day that saw racers struggle to maintain control and respect for fellow drivers on the track. Meanwhile, IndyCar races that were held on the exact same track didn’t seem to have the same issue. According to Suarez, that’s because the IndyCar drivers know their cars can’t take the same punishment.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 31, 2022
"IndyCar, they make it work," Suarez said on "NASCAR Race Hub” Tuesday (via Insider). "Why? Because if they hit the guy in front or the guy on the side, their race is over. Our race is not over. That is why we are taking advantage of that."
He added: “This car is tougher. This car, you can hit a wall a little bit, and you're fine. You can hit another guy, and you're fine. The previous car, you had to worry about the left-rear [tire] having a rub [and going flat] or situations like that. I feel like these cars can take so much that there are a lot of drivers that are taking advantage of that in the wrong way."
Suarez blames the risk-taking and lack of fear of collision for an incident that took place Sunday when another car hit him, sending him into Ryan Blaney and spinning the driver out. Both racers were in contention for the lead but the confusion on turn one (which saw some drivers avoid the turn entirely by taking a shortcut) took that chance away.
NASCAR’s Next Gen cars and the way drivers are adapting will be a big part of “Race For The Championship,” a new documentary series featuring Suarez and other Cup Series drivers, when it premieres on USA Network next month.
“Race for the Championship” debuts on Sept. 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.