Leading up to the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and the debut of the Next Gen cars, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his doubts. The recently inducted Hall of Famer is worried that teams may try to push the boundaries with these new cars.
Taking it at face value, pushing the boundaries of development is not a bad thing. However, the big problem will arise if teams decide to try to improve by hook or by crook.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner admitted on the debut episode of his podcast Dale Jr. Download: Ask Jr. (Ep. 367) in 2022 that as much as NASCAR doesn’t want teams to finagle with the car, teams are going to get “creative,” and based on what he’s seen and heard, it provides them with ample opportunities to do it.
“If you’re not trying to figure out how to cheat, you’re not going anywhere. With this new car, with new parts, new pieces, absolutely you’ve got to find an advantage,” Earnhardt said. “You’ve got to be willing to take that gamble that NASCAR is probably going to come down super hard on the first guy that gets caught for messing with some of their stuff.”
Earnhardt confessed, “With all of the components, there’s all new places and areas for them to get creative in. And when I say get creative, I mean cheat. I think that it’s going to be a very, very difficult task for NASCAR to control all the creativity that these teams are going to try to develop.”
Dale Jr. did confess that while the car is pretty much an open canvas, the officials will be vigilant. This is largely due to the vendor-supplied parts, which was NASCAR’s intension.