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NASCAR’s significant new changes for 2022

NASCAR enters the 2022 season with a plethora of changes to its top three levels of racing. What are the biggest changes to know as the season nears?

Austin Konenski
NASCAR
Mark Zaleski/ For The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

NASCAR will return to race action in under one month when they go to Los Angeles for the Clash on February 6th. What are some significant changes the sport will see as the 2022 season nears?

The NextGen car brings many changes to the sport

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Credit: Mark Zaleski/ For The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the NextGen car was scheduled to run beginning in 2021, but it was pushed back after development was slowed down. However, the car is now ready to be used at every race track in NASCAR.

Drivers have been testing the new car at many venues this offseason, such as both configurations at Charlotte and Daytona International Speedway, and will see another test at Phoenix Raceway at the end of the month.

NASCAR has also changed how you will see race cars on the track due to the NextGen car. The number on the side of the doors will be moved forward in response to work done that shows sponsors would benefit from such a move.

Many organizations have released official paint schemes for the 2022 season with more on the way. The move will only affect the NASCAR Cup Series as the other two levels of racing keep the current structure.

Due to the NextGen car, NASCAR also made a change that pleases almost every fan who enjoys watching their product during Sunday races.

NASCAR eliminates the 550 horespower package, introduces the 670 horsepower package

When NASCAR announced the Cup Series would run with the 550 horsepower package with an eight-inch spoiler at intermediate race tracks, the reactions were expectedly not great.

Many drivers have been critical of the package for years with drivers such as Kyle Busch calling it accordion racing. However, the people in charge listened to the drivers after seeing NextGen testing at Charlotte’s oval.

It was announced in December that NASCAR would move to the 670 horsepower and four-inch spoiler package at every track that is not a superspeedway. It was a move that many people connected to NASCAR loved.

The new package will make passing easier, create tire wear, and allow off-throttle time to possibly return at all race tracks where it was full-throttle last season. It is arguably the best decision of the entire offseason.

The quality of racing is bound to skyrocket in 2022 due to these changes. It was very obvious that NASCAR’s quality of racing with 550 horsepower was poor and this change with the new car could make the sky the limit.

New generations of trucks enter the NASCAR Truck Series

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Credit: Mark Zaleski/ For The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NASCAR Truck Series introduced three new trucks for each manufacturer last year that will be run in 2022. Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota will be the manufactures receiving the truck body updates.

These changes come off one of the wildest Truck Series seasons in recent memory with Ben Rhodes taking his first career championship. While it might have been messy, it will be a tough act to follow.

New veteran drivers entering the series and fresh young talents developing will make the quality of racing better. However, the biggest unknown will be the trucks these drivers are wheeling in 2022.

NASCAR introduces a new schedule in all three series for 2022

NASCAR revealed a brand new schedule across all three series last year with many notable events taking place. The biggest change for 2022 is arguably the Bristol Dirt race for the Cup and Truck Series races.

The time of both events has been changed to 8:00 pm EST on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. This comes after disastrous races in 2021 that turned into dust bowls, one-lane racing, and poor race quality.

A big reason for this was how the track was prepped, but running dirt races at night makes for better racing. If the top-lane isn’t used for dirt racing in NASCAR like at Eldora, what’s even the point of running the races? This is something that could be fixed this season.

NASCAR also revealed its return to the Pacific Northwest as the Xfinity Series goes to Portland International Raceway for the track’s first time since 1999-2000 when the Truck Series ran two races.

It’s big for the sport to extend its reach and they will do just that when the race is run on June 4. It will be one of the most important races of the season across NASCAR due to this reason.

The Truck Series will return to Lucas Oil Raceway for the venue’s first NASCAR events since 2011. It will be the first race of the playoffs on July 29 and kick off a fun weekend for NASCAR in Indianapolis, Indiana.

While these are the most notable schedule changes for each series, there are many other moves that will be well received from drivers and fans alike in 2022.