Rick Hendrick Pressures NASCAR for Revolutionary IMSA-Esque Change to Support Its ‘Electric’ Dreams

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 13: NASCAR car owner Rick Hendricks talks about driver Kyle Larson doing the Double of running the 2024 Indianapolis 500 for McLaren and the 2024 Coca Cola 600 in the same day in a press conference held before the start of the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on August 13, 2023, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The only constant thing is change, and none is immune from it, not even NASCAR. With more and more concerns being raised over the protection of the environment, motorsports competitions around the globe will likely go electric and steps are already being taken. However, things are not moving fast enough for Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick who recently urged the organizers to take a page out of IMSA’s book and look to run hybrid cars on tracks as soon as possible.
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Hybrids are the way to go as per Rick Hendrick
Fully electric vehicles would be impossible to run in the stock car racing competition at the moment as per the 74-year-old, so instead of doing nothing, the answer lies in hybrid cars. A lot of motorsports competitions have done this, IMSA being one of them. A hybrid car has two components generating its power, an internal combustion engine and an electric motor-generator. An article on the official IMSA website explains that the batteries store kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost in braking, and the car uses this energy when it accelerates again. Hendrick wants something similar from NASCAR.
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“I think our cars, the cars we race today, are built to be hybrid. So we can go hybrid. In IMSA [International Motor Sports Association], they’re running hybrids. I don’t see as much pressure on EVs because that’s just almost impossible to run in a [NASCAR] race unless you have a hybrid to charge it,” he said in an interview with Robb Report.
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His comments might make it sound like NASCAR is not paying any attention to making its cars more eco-friendly but that is not the case. Had it not been for the weather, fans perhaps would have witnessed the first-ever electric stock car running a full race at Clash at the Coliseum this year.
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NASCAR working closely with Toyota to realize the electric dream
David Ragan was the man chosen for the job but ultimately, he did not get a chance to run it. Contrary to what a lot of people may believe, NASCAR is working quite hard to make sure they reduce their carbon footprint. One of the key companies working closely with them is Toyota Racing Development. TRD president David Wilson has spoken about working with NASCAR to make the sport more sustainable in the future.
“Obviously social and market forces are driving all of us as car manufacturers to be respectful and to be sensitive to put carbon reduction at the front of our business. When you take it to the race track, I think every motorsport globally is faced with the same pressures, including NASCAR. The question is how and when and what. What I’ll say is all of us sitting up here have been working very closely with NASCAR on new technologies, on a focus towards reduction of carbon, but it continues to be a work in progress,” Wilson had said earlier.
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Electric Cars or at least hybrids seem to be the way to for NASCAR in the long run and it will be interesting to see what kind of an engine the organizers come up with in the future.
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