Could the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season be the best ever?

With a successfully revamped schedule in place and its Next Generation car set to hit the track, NASCAR is hoping to cash in on a promising 2022 Cup Series season.

Could the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season be the best ever?

A series which just two years ago was overwhelmingly dominated by oval tracks – including 19 of 36 races held on tracks with 1-mile, 1.5-mile or 2-mile configurations – will in 2022 feature a far more diverse portfolio.

Cup Series racing in 2022 will include competition on four superspeedways, six road courses, a dirt track, five short tracks, 15 races on 1, 1.5 and 2-mile ovals and five races on unique ovals ranging from 1.25 to 2.5-miles in length.

Read Also:

In addition to the vastly altered Cup schedule, the 2022 season will also see the introduction of a Next Gen car whose styling and composition of its new common Dallara-made chassis will better replicate the manufacturer identities of their showroom counterparts.

The 18-inch wheels and stylish car bodies will easily distinguish the Next Gen car from its predecessors but its updated technology – such as rack and pinion steering and independent rear suspension – will also alter its performance on the track.

The schedule changes and debut of the new car leave NASCAR officials with high expectations and great anticipation for the 2022 season.

“The NextGen car is not only going to bring a lot of relevance back to our vehicles, but it’s also going to create what I think is going to be the best racing product we’ll have in our sport’s history,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of strategy and innovation.

“The cars look fantastic. In seeing some of the data and research they’ve done, the racing product will be better than ever.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Nascar Next Gen

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Nascar Next Gen

Photo by: James Gilbert / Getty Images

Kennedy expects the dramatic evolution of the Cup Series schedule combined with a new race car will test drivers and teams like never before.

“You have a handful of superspeedways, you have a handful of intermediates, a handful of short tracks, a little bit of everything,” he said.

“I think with that diversity in the schedule, it really means that whoever’s going to be that regular-season champion, ultimately the NASCAR Cup Series champion, is the best driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, and I would say probably one of the best drivers in the world, too.”

Despite having to introduce many of its schedule changes this year with areas of the country still under COVID-19 restrictions, NASCAR has seen improved TV ratings and the new venues and races have been well-received by fans.

The biggest question and potential stumbling block for NASCAR heading into 2022 will be waiting to see if the Next Gen car lives up to its hype.

Even if it looks good, the car will still need to perform on the track and only recently did NASCAR get more than half-a-dozen of the new cars on the track at one time to conduct a test at Daytona International Speedway.

There are several more multi-car tests scheduled in the coming months, including on the Charlotte Roval, the Charlotte oval track, a December test at Phoenix and likely a repeat test at Daytona in January with many more cars.

The first real display of new venue and new car will come on Feb. 6 next year when upwards of 25 Next Gen cars will compete in the preseason Clash exhibition race on a made-from-scratch quarter-mile asphalt track inside the Los Angeles Coliseum.

By then, though, it will be only two weeks until the season-opening Daytona 500.

And the die will be cast on a make-or-break season to remember.

shares
comments

Related video

NASCAR shakes up playoffs in 2022 Cup Series schedule

Previous article

NASCAR shakes up playoffs in 2022 Cup Series schedule

Next article

What time and channel is the NASCAR playoffs at Bristol

What time and channel is the NASCAR playoffs at Bristol
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021