NASCAR holds second driver safety meeting, swears more

LAS VEGAS – NASCAR held a second consecutive meeting with its Cup drivers to discuss their safety concerns with the new Next Gen car and vowed to continue sessions for the remainder of the season.

Saturday’s bout at Las Vegas Motor Speedway lasted 75 minutes, the same length as last week’s controversial session at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR has had a lengthy slide presentation for drivers since Charlotte’s was cut off as the bout deteriorated into an emotional confrontation between the drivers and NASCAR leadership.

Several pilots last week compared Charlotte’s encounter to an episode of “Seinfeld” as it became “a broadcast of grievances”. The Las Vegas meeting was much quieter and NASCAR was able to complete the presentation, which was expanded to include information on questions raised by the drivers in Charlotte.

Although the Las Vegas bout was optional, NASCAR said it was well attended despite “some notables” not being present. The Associated Press confirmed that Kevin Harvick, one of the more outspoken pilots on the Next Gen, was present at the meeting in Las Vegas.

“I’m still standing,” said a smiling Brad Keselowski as he walked out of the meeting room on Saturday.

Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman both suffered concussions in what should have been routine accidents. Both drivers were injured when the back of their car hit the wall.

Because the Next Gen was built to be durable, drivers have complained that the rear is too stiff and that they are absorbing too much energy from impacts. Bowman has already missed two races and said he will be out for at least the next three, while Busch said that on Saturday after missing 13 straight races he will step away from racing full-time.

NASCAR thinks they have a solution for the stiffness of the rear of the Next Gen, with possible changes by the beginning of next season.

Corey LaJoie, who sided with NASCAR in developing the Next Gen, said NASCAR told the Charlotte drivers that the design changes it tested “removes about 50% of the G-load in the event of a rear impact.”

“You can always say we should have done it faster,” LaJoie said on his “Stacking Pennies” podcast.

“But this stuff takes time. It’s not like NASCAR is just sitting with its hands in its hands, waiting for another guy to get hurt. No one is more at risk or detriment to seeing their competitors injured than NASCAR is. When we were designing this car, safety was above and beyond any other roadblock ”.

There are four races left this season with Next Gen, including Sunday in Las Vegas to open the third round of the playoffs.

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Other AP car racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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