The new generation car against. The Internet
Monday morning, NASCAR alerted members of the media on the condition of the Next Gen car.
Following a review of data from a June 30 crash test at the Talladega Superspeedway, an independent security panel gave the new Cup Series car for 2022 a healthy check.
According to NBC Sports (my former employer), NASCAR told drivers that it was happy with the panel’s assessment and that after about a month of delay in awaiting the results, chassis deliveries to the teams will begin at the weekend.
It was after NASCAR told drivers in a note earlier this month (reported July 9 by NBC Sports) that crash test data showed “good and comparable performance” compared to similar crashes with non Next Gen cars.
Why has the general public received several direct and indirect updates on whether the Next Gen car is safe or a death trap?
Because 11 days ago, the tiny but vocal corner of the internet of NASCAR latched onto speculation, rumors, and a Cup driver’s one-word response on Reddit and ran with it.
About three decades into the great experiment that is the World Wide Web, and as a person who makes a living from it, unfortunately I have to say this: just because you see something on the Internet – especially Twitter or Reddit – posted by someone inside NASCAR (or tangentially) doesn’t make it true, half-true or even in the same neighborhood as reality, especially without any supporting evidence.
Industry frustrations over the delayed delivery of the Next Gen chassis and the lack of a meaningful update from NASCAR spilled over to social media.
Much of the speculation and claims that the Next Gen car was a failure were driven by a rumor that the crash test at Talladega resulted in the “killing” of the test dummy.
This idea was reinforced by Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing. An avid NASCAR Reddit member, Briscoe gave a one-word response of “Correct” to a user who was simply asking if his understanding of the model’s hypothetical situation was correct.
Briscoe’s response, which unfortunately lacked everything that looked like context, was later deleted.
UPDATE: I haven’t spoken to @ ChaseBriscoe_14 myself, but it was explained to me that the only word “correct” was his interpretation of the information he was responding to, and not something super secret that he knew. The “correct” was simply in response to the message as it is written
– Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) July 9, 2021
But the hypothetical framing that Briscoe was confirming was not.
It was the bad result of a phone game.
As Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney clarified on July 11 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the equipment used to perform the test, not the test itself, failed.
The sleigh malfunctioned and it literally wasn’t going, so when they said it failed the test failed. They didn’t even have a chance to crash the car. I was confused about this too when I was told a few weeks ago, but that’s what it was …
– Alex Andrejev (@AndrejevAlex) July 11, 2021
Additional frustration with NASCAR’s lack of transparency (or perhaps just impatience) was further aired in Atlanta.
“Where there is smoke, there is fire,” said Denny Hamlin. “It’s really worrying. We had a good meeting with NASCAR again a few weeks ago and this was documented on the meeting. I think a lot of the meeting was motivated by the pilots getting together and saying whatever is stiffer (at the body level) the softer object (the pilot) is going to take the brunt of it. bigger impact. … Everything had been done in simulation. The simulation, while very, very good, is still not the real thing. We were eagerly awaiting the results of the June 30 test. … But in the end, we did not get the results. I guess there are rumors from people who are a bit close to it and it doesn’t look great, but again there is no hard data. I guess if things were going fantastically we would have heard about it very soon. “
Hamlin added, “I think they’ll be smart enough to make sure the data is taken care of and it’s a car that drivers feel comfortable getting into.”
Instead of a fire, the culprit was a smoke machine. Or the Internet.
Here we are a week later and the Next Gen car is back on track for its 2022 debut after a lot of noise and fury, ultimately meaning nothing.
If anyone has to be concerned about the safety of the Next Gen car, it’s the drivers.
But context matters. Just because we don’t hear any results from NASCAR doesn’t mean the eventual answer will be wrong. NASCAR was just doing its due diligence on the biggest car change in the history of the sport.
Unfortunately, the noise created on social media has set in in the absence of anything resembling an official NASCAR statement.
Even NASCAR’s Scott Miller admitted that the sanctioning body could have been more clear on when to expect results.
“Regarding the delay, it always takes some time to put together a full report on what we saw in a crash”, Miller said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio last week. “It’s not like anybody should have expected that we were going to run over this car and look at some charts and say, ‘Hey, we’ve finished analyzing this data. “… I have no idea how the rumors started that it didn’t go well, because it did.… To expect (the report was going to be released) in a day or two was unrealistic at first, and perhaps we should have communicated this better from the start.
Some rumors on the Internet are proving to be true. Buzz that Harrison Burton would be heading to Wood Brothers Racing hit the Redditverse on Tuesday ahead of its announcement.
It didn’t take long for the next round of silly season rumors to kick in, only for him to be beaten by his subject on Sunday, July 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This time it was Kevin Harvick. Apparently the 45-year-old driver was about to leave Stewart-Haas Racing, where he is still under contract until 2023, and buy JTG Daugherty Racing. Oh, and Blaney, who has a contract at least next year with the Penske team, was going to replace it.
What do you say, Harvick?
“Zero interest” says Harvick.
Follow @DanielMcFadin and discover and subscribe to his show “Release the hammer with Daniel McFadin” on YouTube and as a podcast. This week’s guest will be Autoweek NASCAR reporter Matt Weaver.
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