HEY, WILLIE! NASCAR's Next Gen car generates some questions

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Some things to think about as NASCAR’s Next Gen car is not performing that well, and why there’s so many crashes with concussions.

1. Why does a USA-centered race conglomerate hire a foreign company whose experience involves Indy-style, 2,500-pound, rear-engine cars to design a front-engine 3,500-pound race car?

2. Why are the shocks on the new Next Gen car similar to motorcycle shocks? Smaller shock, less travel, harder ride, less handling ability, less control of car in corners.

3. Changing tires with just the one big lug nut? Why, just to save time in the pit, or fewer bodies to pay?

4. With the small springs and less travel jacking the car up for a tire change, the wheel has less travel to drop and get the wheel off cleanly.

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Oops, another wheel goes rogue.
Oops, another wheel goes rogue.



Many would point to the equalizing of the playing field this year (19 different winners!) and argue that the Next Gen is working in that important regard. As for your airing of grievances . . .

1. I don’t know. But I know Dallara, the Italian chassis builder, has been in the race-car business a very long time.

2. Not sure how much that’s affecting the overall handling, but shocks and suspensions obviously play a big role. And more and more, you’re hearing drivers say they’re less able to save the Next Gen car once it starts to let go. "Yee-ha," some might say.

3. I’m told the single lug nut is necessary for the bigger wheels. I asked why, soon wished I hadn’t, and bee-lined for the press-box buffet.

4. Harder to get them off. Sometimes hard to make them stay on. Count me in! I was getting tired of pit stops becoming automatic.

For what it's worth, Goodyear has been (practically) exclusively producing NASCAR's tires for nearly 50 years, and if you watched Sunday's blow-out affair at Texas, you're reminded that auto racing remains a moving target.

Chase Elliott was among several drivers (and race leaders) who saw their Texas race end due to a blown right-rear tire.
Chase Elliott was among several drivers (and race leaders) who saw their Texas race end due to a blown right-rear tire.


I realize the spelling is different, but I must insist that Morey Amsterdam be included in your top-five list of all-time Maurys. 

The man who played Buddy Sorrell on the Dick Van Dyke Show definitely has more hutzpah than Maury Povich. He was the king of dad jokes and especially bald jokes. Oops, I may have taken this too far.



It’s as if you folks think such things didn’t cross my mind.

My top-five Maury list came about due to the recent death of former Dodgers great Maury Wills. When “Morey” Wills dies, get back to me

The Boys in Research have some neat trivia for you regarding “the human joke machine,” Morey Amsterdam. Morey was the original voice of George Jetson but only lasted one episode due to sponsor conflicts between the Jetsons and Van Dyke shows.

The George Jetson gig went to George O’Hanlon after he failed to win the Fred Flintstone voice.

The Flintstone job went to Alan Reed.



Shouldn't the great Maury Allen at least be in the top five? And how about Morey Amsterdam and The Rocket, the Great Maurice Richard? With a nod to the almost-greats: Maurice Stokes, Cheeks, Lucas and Chevalier.



The late Maury Allen, a longtime New York sports writer and author, fell into our “Also Receiving Votes” category.

Again, it was MAURY, not Morey and certainly not Maurice. We’d be here all  day whittling down to an all-time top-five Maurices. Topping that list, of course, would be Steve Miller’s buddy Maurice, who spoke with a “pompatus of love.”


As I teach in my aviation classes (origin of the term “Jumbo Jets”), Jumbo's sad demise at a railroad crossing in Canada served a noble cause: He saved the life of Tom Thumb (well, at least according to P.T. Barnum).  

Has your research department been able to confirm that Tufts' athletic director keeps a can of Jumbo’s ashes on his desk?



For what it’s worth, the Tufts Jumbos did beat the Bates Bobcats this past Saturday, so I got that one right.

Tufts’ teams are named after P.T. Barnum’s “Jumbo” the elephant, a big attraction 100-plus years ago whose career ended on a train track. Barnum had him pieced back together and the replica Jumbo moved into a Tufts museum Barnum built.

The museum, and Jumbo, burned down in 1975. A school employee recovered some ashes and put them in a peanut butter jar, where they still remain.

From a happy childhood in the jungles of Sudan, to a peanut butter jar outside Boston, poor ol’ Jumbo just couldn’t catch a break. It's enough to make you wonder if they should've just left him alone.

— Reach Ken Willis at ken.willis@news-jrnl.com

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR's Next Gen car has fans asking some questions | HEY, WILLIE!