As we get set to enter the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the anticipation is ratcheted up due in large part to some new additions to the sport.
For starters, this is the first time the sport has had a first-time defending champion in Brad Keselowski since Jimmie Johnson entered the 2007 season off his first title.
This will also be a season ripe with personnel changes, as high profile drivers like Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano will all drive for new organizations. And don’t forget the full-time introductions of Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
But no change for 2013 is drawing more attention than the introduction of the newest model of the stock car, which is now being affectionately referred to as the “Gen 6” model.
The Gen 6 is a throwback of sorts, returning the brand and manufacturer identity to the sport that has been sorely lacking since the “Car of Tomorrow” was implemented in 2007. In other words, the Chevys, Fords and Toyotas that turn laps across the circuit this year will look very similar to the production model fans would see on a showroom floor.
NASCAR is toting this return to brand identity as “putting the stock back into the stock car,” which is a return to the early roots of the sport where street cars were turned into race cars. The diverse body styles will also more than likely eliminate the two-car tandem drafting at plate tracks that fans have grown tired of.
Of course, the explanation of the Gen 6 model doesn’t begin and end with the look of the car. Much like the Car of Tomorrow before it, the new car will bring a number of enhanced safety features into the sport.
For instance, additions of a forward roof bar and center roof support bar to the roll cage reinforce integrity and increase the crush structure of the roof. It will be harder for cars to go airborne in wrecks as well, as larger roof flaps will decrease that likelihood.
The Gen 6 car has also slimmed down a bit from the previous model, dropping 160 pounds, a characteristic that should only add to the speeds the model can obtain.
And finally, in addition to the body change of the car, a few other cosmetic alterations have been made, including the addition of the driver’s name on the upper portion of the windshield, something that should help fans more easily identify who is behind the wheel.
Sponsor decals and car numbers no longer appear on the headlight and taillight areas, but will be on the front and rear bumpers. And beginning in 2013, only one sponsor logo will be permitted on the roof of the cars.
To learn more about the evolution of the stock car in more than 60 years of NASCAR history, click here.
Fans will have their first opportunity to see the Gen 6 car take its shot at taming the Monster Mile when NASCAR returns to Dover on May 31-June 2, 2013 in a tripleheader weekend at the track.
The weekend kicks off with the May 31 “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, followed by the June 1 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
The June 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be the first race for the new car on the Monster, but fans will be able to see them all weekend, beginning with practice and qualifying on Friday and a pair of practice sessions on Saturday.
For tickets or more information on the May 31-June 2, 2013 race weekend, call 800-441-RACE or click here.