NASCAR's future is here: Next Gen car finally arrives

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR's next generation race car is finally here after two years of hype and hope that it will revolutionize the stock car series.

How can a spec car radically change a sport?

Competition. Cost containment. Manufacturer relevance.

The Next Gen car, first proposed in 2018 and originally set to debut this season until the pandemic delayed it until 2022, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between NASCAR and its partners. All parties had to work toward creating a car that served the entire industry.

“We really wanted to get back to a promise that we had made to the fans, which is to put the ‘stock’ back in stock car,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. “It looks like you’ve gone to some type of outfit that’s taken a regular car and just made it look incredibly sporty. There’s a relevance to this race car that we haven’t seen, frankly, in 40, 50 years.”

The long overdue unveiling Wednesday was much like a pre-pandemic NASCAR affair. Hall of Famers Richard Petty, Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs were part of a masked audience when reigning Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin drove their respective , and into a darkened Charlotte auditorium.