NASCAR announced Thursday that the debut of the Next Gen will be pushed back to 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The car was scheduled to have debuted with the 2021 Daytona 500.
NASCAR issued a statement from John Probst, senior vice president of racing innovation:
“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022. The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.”
The Next Gen car has been viewed as a long-term cost-savings measure for teams and will include common parts from vendors. With vendor work halted by stay-at-home orders, the timeline of getting vehicles to teams by July became an issue. Also, with NASCAR intending to run all the races this season, it would put an extra burden on teams to compete and test and prepare the new car for next year.
NASCAR had done four tests with Next Gen car since last year. NASCAR had tests at Richmond Raceway in October with Austin Dillon, at Phoenix Raceway in December with Joey Logano, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in January with Erik Jones and at Auto Club Speedway in March with William Byron.
NASCAR has had all its events postponed from the Atlanta race weekend March 14-15 to the Dover Cup race on May 3 becuase of the COVID-19 pandemic.