At the Daytona 500, NASCAR teams confront a problem — a shortage of cars

Kyle Larson
By Jordan Bianchi Feb 16, 2022 17
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — One crew chief shrugged his shoulders, saying the situation “is what it is.” Another downplayed any concern in one breath, saying that every team was facing the same quandary, then in another breath acknowledged a level of apprehension existed. And across the garage, a third crew chief stated his lone goal was just to get through each practice unscathed.

So it went Tuesday, the official start to the 2022 NASCAR season that leads into Sunday’s Daytona 500. The pervasive, first-day-of-school optimism that always hovers over the garage opening on this day and often carries throughout the week was again present, though this time also accompanied by an undercurrent of trepidation that will be omnipresent throughout the week.

“It’s one of those things where in the past if you didn’t have enough parts and pieces, you just worked more overtime, you hired more people, you just had more control over it,” said Andy Petree, Richard Childress Racing vice president of competition. “It’s really strange not having that. And it is frustrating, but there’s not much you can do about it as you know that you’re in the same boat as everyone else.”

Such unease is created by an inventory shortage that has greatly slowed construction of NASCAR’s new Next Gen car

Instead of the full allotment of seven cars that NASCAR allows each specific team, or even the five cars NASCAR said last fall it hoped each team would have by the start of the season, nearly every team that rolled into Daytona International Speedway had no more than three full cars built. Total. It’s a pronounced worry considering the hazards associated with superspeedway racing where multi-car accidents are often an unavoidable staple.