With recent new tracks and a brand new car on the way, NASCAR has shown a desire for innovation. But they may have something unprecedented in store.
Throughout the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the word “new” has almost lost its novelty. This season, we’ve seen the debut of new teams, new drivers, new tracks and even new owners.
NASCAR has shown a clear desire for innovation and brought a fresh product on and off the track in a season that is being touted as the “best season ever”.
With all the “new” coming into the sport, there obviously has to be some “old” going out. This season, we saw Bristol Motor Speedway lose a concrete race for a new dirt race.
We saw multiple road course races added to the schedule, including one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to replace the traditional Brickyard 400 at the oval, and we saw multiple ovals wiped off the calendar, including Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. We also saw the addition of Nashville Superspeedway.
Germain Racing and Leavine Family Racing are now defunct, but Trackhouse Racing Team and 23XI Racing have arrived with Chevrolet and Toyota, respectively, to take their place.
Despite all of the “new” that NASCAR has brought, it appears they’re not done innovating the sport yet.
We already know about 2022’s launch of the Next Gen car, but it may not stop there. Earlier last month, Sports Business Journal‘s Adam Stern reported that NASCAR is “exploring the concept of starting an all-electric companion series.”
As noted, the electric series would be a companion series and would not replace the Cup Series as the premier racing league for NASCAR drivers.
The report also goes on to state that even with the Next Gen car set to debut next year, the electric series would be “highly unlikely” to start at the same time, making 2023 the earliest possibility for an inaugural season.
While NASCAR declined to comment on the possibility of an all-electric series, president Steve Phelps did mention in February that an exhibition series is something NASCAR might explore.
While only time will tell on whether or not something this new and innovative will be introduced, it should be noted this would not be a first in motorsports. The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, have been running an electric series, Formula E, since 2014.
On top of this, with established NASCAR manufacturers already selling electric vehicles, an extra racing series that showcases these cars may not be as far-fetched as it seems.