NASCAR Retells 7 Generations of Stock Car History in 17 Minutes

For this story, the sanctioning body doesn't shy away from the failings of the Car of Tomorrow or Gen6 car.

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Gif: NASCAR

It’s hard to argue that the introduction of the NextGen car hasn’t been a success for the NASCAR Cup Series. There have been 15 different race winners through the 23 races run so far this season. While the rule book is new and new teams have been able to find their way to victory lane — the NextGen regulations were built atop a foundation from almost 75 years of competition. NASCAR has recently released a short video to illustrate how the sanctioning body got to this point, as told by the people who lead the sport on and off the track.

The Evolution of Stock Car to Race Car: Seven generations of NASCAR race cars explained

The 17-minute video features archival footage, studio footage of surviving historic vehicles and interviews with prominent figures from NASCAR’s history. With these parts, viewers are guided through the seven generations of NASCAR stock car and, indirectly, a brief history of the sport. The early portion of the video somewhat romanticizes NASCAR’s first two decades, but it’s reasonably well-balanced when discussing the two generations of stock car before the NextGen. Despite being produced by NASCAR, the Car of Tomorrow and the Gen6 are fairly criticized for their flaws. The CoT was derided for initially featuring a rear wing and the body that was basically uniform between manufacturers. The Gen6 sparked a costly spending war fueled by a search for marginal advantages.

The video concludes by contextualizing the NextGen car within the history of NASCAR. This current generation of machinery continues the push for bodywork similar to road cars started in the sixth generation — harkening back to the original age of stock cars. But underneath the bodywork, the NextGen car is effectively a purpose-built racing car reaching the end goal that Cup Series teams have unintentionally been pushing towards for decades.