NASCAR’s Chase Elliott Says Safety Took a Step ‘Backwards’ With Next Gen Cars

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the big topic is safety. Even the often mum Chase Elliott had to say something ahead of Talladega. Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman was the latest victim of the stiff Next Gen car. It makes sense why he would have an opinion on the matter now.

For Chase Elliott and likely many Cup Series drivers, the Next Gen car has been up and down. It has closed the gap in the level of competition between big and small teams. And while there have been some really fun races this season, lately, it’s been more issues than successes.

Chase Elliott Talks Safety Before Talladega

Texas Motor Speedway was a reminder that these cars are stiff, especially when they hit the rear end into the wall. Chase Elliott is not happy with what he’s been seeing.

“These types of incidents that result in injuries. … I’m not a doctor, but I’ve watched a lot of cars back into the wall and the guy would be fine,” Elliott said to Jenna Fryer of the AP, referencing his teammate’s wreck at Texas.

“No one’s immune to it; it could be me next week. It could be any of my peers or fellow competitors. I just hate to see us go backwards and I’m afraid that we have.”

After all of the issues we saw with tires and the injury to Bowman at Texas, there have been multiple drivers talking about this issue, not just Chase Elliott. Always one to speak his mind, Denny Hamlin wasn’t afraid to open up about safety. He’s been in the sport too long to be quiet at this point.

For Hamlin, it comes down to a broader issue with NASCAR.

“Pretty disappointing that our sanctioning body refuses to acknowledge or accept any responsibility for drivers getting hurt. It’s the same THEY said. WE knew better. It’s wrong these drivers continue to get taken advantage of by the system,” Hamlin tweeted.

There’s clearly discontent here. When you are not only getting Denny to tweet about it, but Chase Elliott is openly talking about safety concerns then it is a clear and obvious issue. These drivers are the best of the best – let’s keep them safe so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.