It is a thrilling feeling to spend a day at the racetrack of a NASCAR event. Being among so many like-minded people is so exciting. Most fans of motorsports only care about the racing side and the drivers, but if you are a real motorhead, then you have properly wondered and the mechanics behind the wins: we take a look at one aspect of the those mechanics and ask “Are NASCAR cars automatic or manual, and do they use a stick?”
NASCAR cars have sported three and 4-speed manual- or stick transmissions, as they are also known since the 1950s. The new generation of NASCAR will be on the racetrack in February 2022, with a 6-speed manual (5 forward and 1 reverse) sequential transmission. The stick is pushed up and down for changes.
There is an exciting time laying ahead for NASCAR fans as the Next Gen NASCAR starts to make its appearance on tracks in 2022. The Next Gen cars have been totally revamped for the 2022 season. One of the changes, of which there are many is in the transmission systems that are used. In this article, we will take a look at the older generation NASCAR transmission and the new sequentials that are in the Next Gen cars.
Nascars From The Past – Automatic Or Manual?
The first-ever NASCAR race was held in 1948, and it was won by Red Byron in a Ford Deluxe. The Ford had a 3-speed manual transmission. Here is a table containing information about NASCAR Cars and their transmissions in history. The four speed has been in place for over 60 years!
|1948||Red Byron||Ford||3 Speed manual|
|1950||Bill Rexford||Oldsmobile||3 Speed manual|
|1951||Herb Thomas||Hudson Hornet||3 Speed manual|
|1955||Tim Flock||Chrysler 300||3 Speed manual|
|1957||Buck Baker||Chevy Black Widow||4 Speed manual|
|1982||Darrel Waltrip||Buick||4 Speed manual|
|2007||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||4-speed manual|
This table only shows some of the results of NASCAR races from the past. Manual transmissions have been part of NASCAR history since it began. The next part of the article will focus on the 4-speed manual gearbox that has been in use for NASCAR since the late 1950s and until the end of the 2021 season.
4 Speed NASCAR Manual Transmission
The 4-speed manual transmissions that have been used in NASCAR Cars since 1968 were inspired by the Ford transmissions from the 1950s. Two main racing transmission manufacturers used the design from the 1950s to perfect their own unique transmissions.
Through the years, there have been quite a number of transmission manufacturers. Two of the most common models are an Andrews A431 transmission and a Jerico performance product 4 speed. We break them down below.
Andrews A431- 4 Speed Nascar Transmission Information
The Andrews A431- 4-speed transmission has helped many of the top teams in NASCAR to stay on the top of their game. This transmission type was used by 7 out of the top 10 teams in the last few seasons. Andrews A431- 4-speed manual transmissions are manufactured according to strict NASCAR criteria to make sure mechanically at least, the playing field is as level as possible, unlike the tracks.
These transmissions are manufactured for performance using quality engineered components. These transmissions are put together to be durable enough to withstand the power and torque of the vehicles over multiple laps at high speed. Here are some a few specifications of this transmission:
- This transmission was used in the 2021 Chevy Camaro and has been the preferred transmission for chevy and other teams for many years.
- It has a short-throw shifter for easy gear changes.
- It has a 4-speed H-pattern layout for inside the car. Also has reverse gear.
- The gears are cut with CNC machines for performance excellence.
- It has multi ratio capabilities to deal with high torque and extra horsepower.
- It has an external oil cooler.
The Andrews A431 was not the only transmission frequently used in NASCAR cars, though. The 4-speed transmission from Jerico performance products was also a popular choice.
Jerico Performance Products- 4 Speed Manual Transmission
The Jerico 4 speed transmission was another popular transmission used in many NASCAR Cars over the years. Here are the specifications of this transmission.
- The transmission has a strong aluminum case.
- The transmission gears are made with Var premium steel that gets machined in-house.
- The transmission is made to offer smooth gear changes even if the engine is running at high revolutions.
- The transmission was designed for NASCAR requirements.
Both the Jerico and the Andrews transmissions were used for the last time in the 2021 NASCAR season. The next generation of NASCAR cars that will be used for the 2022 season will feature a 5-speed manual sequential transmission.
The 2022 Next Gen NASCAR – 5 Speed Sequential Transmission
The 2022 season of NASCAR is set to be an interesting one, with the next generation of vehicles making their debut. A new 5-speed sequential transmission has been fitted to the 2022 cars.
The new sequential transmissions are still manual however, so fans of automatic shouldn’t get to excited yet; here are the specifications for the new NASCAR transmissions.
- The Xtrac P1334 transmission is the only transmission that will be used for the next generation of NASCAR vehicles.
- It is a 5 speed rear mount sequential transaxle that changes over manually.
- The P1334 transmission was designed with all the different tracks and race conditions in mind.
- They can gear adjust the ratios according to the needs that a NASCAR team might have at that time.
- The next generation Nascar vehicles have been tested extensively with the new transmissions.
Overall, it looks like the 2022 season of NASCAR will be an exciting unknown because of all the changes made in the next generation of NASCAR Cars. It is definitely going to be a season that you can not miss, and how the drivers deal with these changes wrapped up in a new vehicle will be likely provide the defining moments of the series.
NASCAR cars have been using manual transmissions since the 1950s. For many years, a 4-speed manual transmission has been the number one choice, but the next generation of NASCAR cars will be racing on the track this year with a new 5-speed sequential manual transmission.
These changes don’t come easy for NASCAR or its fans, however times change and to remain stock, these cars have to change as well.
The changes to the next generation NASCAR cars will be put to the test in the 2022 season, although the setup has been tested for quite some time, there is still a transition ( not transmission) period that needs to be gone through.
It is an exciting time for this popular motorsport, and one can only hope that the new manual transmissions will live up to expectations and help promote this sport even further.