Can Danica Patrick win the Daytona 500?


Carbon fiber

The hood and decklid are now constructed from carbon fiber, which are lighter but also more likely to break apart in a crash. The hoods will have a Kevlar coating to prevent splintering. Also, the hood tether squares from the previous incarnation are no longer visible.



More roof structure has been added for increased driver safety, including the addition of a forward roof bar and center roof support bar for the roll cage. Larger roof flaps serve an important purpose — they are designed to decrease the likelihood of the car becoming airborne.



The Gen-6 carries less weight on the right side, which could change the way races are won. Tire manufacturer Goodyear is now able to build a tire that wears more consistently while maintaining grip, leading to fewer races determined by fuel mileage and more emphasis on tire strategy and driving ability.



The driver's name will be displayed at top of windshield, with manufacturer logos on either side of the name. "We believe this will help build the identity of the driver with the race car and their relationship with the manufacturer," said NASCAR president Mike Helton.


Decal placement

Sponsor decals and car numbers have been removed from headlight and taillight areas of the car, and now appear on front and rear bumpers. Also, a single sponsor logo will be permitted on the roof of the cars.


Unique body designs

The new cars incorporate front grill designs and other details specific to Chevrolet (SS), Ford (Fusion), and Toyota (Camry). Other than the carbon fiber rear deck lid, all body panels are now produced by the manufacturer and individually stamped for verification.


Rear of car

Because of differences in the back end of cars, drivers will not be able to rely heavily on the bump-drafting strategy which has been common at Daytona in recent years. The rear deck fin on the left side of the back glass is now made of clear polycarbonate.





Through the years

NASCAR has seen plenty of design changes during each decade.

First impressions of Gen-6
Measuring up

This year's cars are 150 pounds lighter than in 2012 (80 pounds lighter on the right side, 70 pounds lighter on the left), and more than two inches shorter.

Specification Gen-5 (2012) Gen-6 (2013)
Total weight (pounds) 3,450 3,300
Right-side weight (pounds) 1,700 1,620
Left-side weight (pounds) 1,750 1,680
Length (inches) 198.5 196.2
Width (inches) 74 77
SOURCES: Associated Press, NASCAR

Luke Knox/Globe staff

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