After two rain delays totaling more than three hours, the temperature had cooled to around 75 degrees when the checkered flag flew, but Kurt Busch, who finished in second behind Chase Elliott, stepped out of his car with his jumpsuit soaked through with sweat.
The 2022 season marks the first for NASCAR’s Next Gen Car, replacing the Gen 6 models used from 2013 to 2021. The car’s split exhaust system causes exhaust to run directly under where the drivers are seated, making the interiors of the car hotter than previous models.
“There’s some work to do,” Busch said. “NASCAR needs to listen to the drivers.”
DOLLY MAKES AN APPEARANCE: Here's Dolly Parton's message to fans ahead of NASCAR's Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway
Busch attributed his frustrations with the heat to the design of the Next Gen Car, citing a lack of ventilation and circulation inside the car's cabin. He added that drivers are required to keep the right-side windows in the car before a race, trapping heat inside.
“It was like a greenhouse,” Busch said. “I’ve never been that hot when I got in a car.”
Busch had similar complaints in 2021 after he tested the car still in its developmental stages. That year, he also cited a lack of ventilation and circulation.
NASCAR made changes over the last year to the exhaust system to help decrease excess cabin heat, though Busch said it’s still far from perfect.
Some drivers opt for cooling jumpsuits or cooling systems within their cars, though such systems add weight to the cars. Others opt to power through.
"I kept looking up in the grandstands every time on turn 4 and the people were packed in up there in the sun; I could see the sun beating down on the fans," said Justin Allgaier, the winner of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. "I could see them up there cheering us on lap after lap, staying engaged in the race and I just kept thinking about how hot it probably was up there. It made me realize my job wasn't too bad sitting where I was."
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Kurt Busch says NASCAR needs to listen to drivers to fix cabin heat issues