NASCAR President Steve Phelps says that drivers’ opinion towards the Next Gen safety issue doesn’t reflect the whole picture.
The 2022 Cup Series season saw a number of drivers raising their concerns about safety in the Next Gen car. The issue proliferated after two drivers, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman, had to miss a number of races due to concussion-like symptoms after a crash.
The drivers most vocal about the issue were Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin but other drivers joined in to raise their concerns.
However, Phelps believes that drivers don’t truly feel abandoned by NASCAR regarding safety and they are saying things to make an impact. In an interview with The Athletic, Phelps said:
“I think in some cases, the drivers say those things to try to have an impact, that we’re going to accelerate change. But overall, if that’s truly how the drivers feel, how does that make me feel, personally? It’s not true.”
“Do I really believe that drivers think that we don’t care about their safety? I don’t believe that’s a true statement. I really believe that they think we care about their safety. I believe that.”
However, Phelps also added that change is in order.
“And we need to make sure that they understand that we’re going to make the changes necessary in order to keep them safe. That’s what we’re doing.”
Phelps suggested that drivers were overreacting to the issue but sometimes it takes overreaction to get things done faster and that’s probably what the drivers wanted to achieve. Nonetheless, it has gotten NASCAR to work for the better.