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NASCAR’s big driver movement has finally arrived in 2022

NASCAR's driver movement has finally arrived as drivers become more transparent in 2022. Let's dive into this development and why it's great for the sport.

Austin Konenski
NASCAR: Cup Series Playoff Media Day
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR drivers have not been known to be transparent but that has changed over previous years and especially the 2022 season as concerns over race control, the NextGen car, and other issues have been brought forward.

Let’s dive into the dynamic and what this means for NASCAR moving into the coming years.

NASCAR drivers are beginning to speak up about the sport

NASCAR: Cup Series Playoff Media Day
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The days of NASCAR drivers being quiet and limited about the sport have appeared to come to an end. This is certainly an amazing thing as drivers begin to use their voices and call out the inconsistencies and issues.

Kyle Busch has been one of the previous drivers to continuously use his voice but others have started to as well. Most notably, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson have all tuned in.

These drivers and more have become more vocal. Other sports, such as the NBA, have already experienced this as some players do not have a filter and will criticize when needed to make the sport a better place.

However, this also does give the players more power, which has resulted in lots of star players being moved as they take over teams in the NBA, such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets.

NASCAR has seen this occur during the 2022 season, but not to that extent. Whether it’s calling out the inconsistent calls, bashing the NextGen car and Goodyear, or calling out the dangerous moves of other drivers, there has never been a stronger collective voice.

What have the drivers been saying and what does this mean for the sport’s future?

Related: NASCAR needs to penalize William Byron and Ty Gibbs in 2022

NASCAR drivers’ comments have the sport’s future brighter

NASCAR: Cup Series Playoff Media Day
Sep 1, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) talks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at Charlotte Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR drivers have clearly become more transparent as they let out their true thoughts and concerns about the sport. Let’s name a few of the drivers and explain what they have been vocal about as of late.

Hamlin has called out NASCAR’s race control for essentially screwing him out of a good finish at Texas Motor Speedway while allowing William Byron to keep his spot. Why? That’s because race control did not see the accident.

That’s not even including the massive tweet about NASCAR not possibly ditching Goodyear because they get “fat checks” from the tire company to be with the sport. This is due to the tires not lasting long on Sunday afternoon.

Harvick has been very vocal about NASCAR’s NextGen car and how they aren’t caring about safety, which might or might not be true. This is all within the public sphere with no idea of what is actually happening behind the scenes.

Truex has called out the “crappy parts” like Harvick and while his comments on the Goodyear tires from Texas Motor Speedway weren’t as strong, it was easy to tell that anger was present.

Elliott has openly talked about the ideal NASCAR schedule and how the sport is fighting a battle they will never win with the NFL. Plus, Elliott has called out NASCAR for taking steps back with the NextGen car design.

Logano and Larson have been vocal about Texas Motor Speedway. Logano said the idea of turning it into a superspeedway is not smart since it rewards drivers who don’t work hard while Larson said the track itself needs to be demolished.

Nothing that has been said above is false, outside of the safety concerns which cannot be proven and it should be clear that safety is NASCAR’s number one priority moving forward.

However, the above statement needs to be proven. If safety is important, then the video Brad Keselowski shared on social media of Ty Gibbs almost slamming Ty Dillon into members of his team and NASCAR officials needs action.

If NASCAR is going to say that safety is a priority, Gibbs needs a significant penalty to show that using your car as a weapon will not be tolerated on pit road of all places. This is what needs to happen, consistency needs to take place overall.

NASCAR has done a fantastic job but the drivers are the ones who put their lives on the line every single weekend and drive the cars around the track. It’s about time people are starting to speak up for themselves.

The driver movement has finally begun and it is something everyone has been waiting for constantly. There is no going back, forward is the only place to go. It’s time for the drivers to speak up and eventually, it’s going to turn into action.