Since drivers first strapped in behind the wheel to test the NASCAR Next Gen car, a theme has developed and a consistent refrain from the racers has been repeated — the car is hard to drive. In November, a couple of spins and an Austin Dillon crash during the first round of testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway proved that.
On Wednesday, during the second round of tests at the same track, Tyler Reddick added his name to the list after a scary crash in which he violently slammed into the safety barrels at the entrance to pit road, which resulted in a huge explosion of sand.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spins Next Gen car in first incident of day
After last month’s testing of the Next Gen car at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR hoped to find some speed on the second go-round with the cars, which will debut in just two months at the Daytona 500. Tyler Reddick piloted the first car on track for the day. He turned his initial test laps without any issues.
The first incident of the day happened several hours into testing when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a big run on Aric Almirola heading into Turn 4, lost control of his car, and went for a spin.
“Not how we drew it up,” Stenhouse later tweeted. “Crazy with this car, it was really loose by itself, when the 10 pulls down car gets really tight (won’t turn) then when the 10 slides up the track, car gains a bunch of front downforce and snaps.”
Tyler Reddick violently slams Next Gen car into pit road entrance barrier and sand barrels explode
Stenhouse’s incident didn’t involve contact with any walls or other cars. Tyler Reddick, however, wasn’t as fortunate.
In the same turn, with no other vehicles around, the RCR driver lost control of his car and started spinning. He made a complete 360 and slid down the track, where the front driver’s side of the car violently slammed into the barrier at the pit road entrance, which resulted in multiple barrels exploding and a wall of sand cascading through the air.
AMR safety crews rushed to the scene, with sand and destroyed remnants of yellow barrels scattered all over the track. For several tense seconds, Reddick didn’t exit the vehicle. Once the safety team members arrived and checked with him, he fired up the car, backed it up, and drove it to the garage. He visited the infield care center, where he was evaluated and released.
“Hate it for the team,” Reddick said on Twitter. “The steering is a little off to the right from the contact. Other than that, the damage is all body. We will take our time to fix the car and make the adjustments we were planning on for Friday.”
Austin Dillon involved in crash during last month’s testing
Interestingly, Tyler Reddick’s RCR teammate Austin Dillon was involved in the first crash of Next Gen testing last month at Charlotte. It happened early in the session and caused considerable damage to the car, but NASCAR said the “car performed as designed.”
Denny Hamlin also spun during November’s testing and has been one of the more vocal drivers about the Next Gen car, including its handling challenges and how fans will enjoy seeing the drivers tested.
“This thing is an entirely different machine,” Hamlin said during a conversation on Racing Spaces on Twitter. “There will certainly be more wrecks, no question.”
Tyler Reddick agrees.