Chevrolet announced today in the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway that they will be fielding a new car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next season beginning with Daytona.
They will be abandoning the currently used Impala for one of their iconic brands.
Camaro, America's top-selling sports car will bring a new rivalry to NASCAR. It won't be Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch, or Ryan Newman vs. Joey Logano, or Roush-Fenway Racing vs. Richard Childress Racing, but it will be Camaro vs. Mustang vs. Challenger. The pony-wars of 1979 will reignite come February in Daytona.
Chevrolet did a great job with the design of the Camaro NNS car. It looks badass and apparently also meets NASCAR's aerodynamic rulings.
It's about time Chevrolet brought out the Camaro. No offense to the Impala, it's a great car, but it doesn't look like a race car. The Camaro does. It will be great to see it on the race track in due time.
Chevrolet still has yet to unveil their entry for the Sprint Cup Series next season, the SS. They're the only manufacture yet to unveil their 2013 Cup entry.
Top-35 Rule to be Scrapped?
NASCAR's Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton told Bob Pockrass of AOL Sporting News that the current qualifying format of having the top-35 in owner's points may be scrapped next year.
Pemberton said that NASCAR may revert back to the qualifying format that was used prior to 2005 when the top-35 rule was implemented. Before 2005 the top 38 cars would qualify based on their speed every week. Positions 39-42 were filled in by drivers using provisionals. The final spot was reserved for a past champion who would also use a provisional. If no past champion needed a provisional then the final spot was given to the driver highest in owner's points.
The reason for the top-35 rule was to give teams and their sponsors security that their car would be in the race almost every week.
Jayski.com reports that the format being considered would be similar to that, but every driver would get four provisionals each and every former champion would get an extra provisional.
The new format would make qualifying a bit more meaningful due to the risk that drivers may have to use a provisional if they aren't fast enough or crash in qualifying. If they use too many they run the risk of missing a race.
To give an example, when Tony Stewart qualified dead last at Bristol last August, he would have had to use one his five provisionals (he'd have five because he's a past champion). The new format would mean that the Richard Childress Racing cars would have to try to be fast in qualifying at Daytona and Talladega, two tracks that all three cars consistently qualify 30th or worse.
In my opinion, this is a good first step (if it happens) to making qualifying more meaningful, but instead of four (or five) provisionals to each driver, limit the amount to two for each driver and a third to those who are former champions. That would really make qualifying meaningful. The teams would have to nail their qualifying setup to ensure they have speed and the drivers would have to be almost perfect on their two qualifying laps to be fast but not crash.
Unfortunately that would never happen. The sponsors want security. They want to know that their big-money investments will be racing week-in and week-out. After all, that was the whole point of the top-35 rule to begin with.
Pemberton also told Pockrass that NASCAR is thinking about loosening the reigns on their testing ban that has been in place since 2009.
The ban keeps teams from testing at any track that hosts racing in any of NASCAR's top three series. The point of the ban was to save the teams money, but Pemberton said teams are testing even more now at non-NASCAR sanctioned tracks to the point that the ban is basically meaningless.
A plus to lifting the testing ban would be that it would ensure that teams are testing at safe race tracks.
Last August Brad Keselowski broke his ankle and hurt his back in a testing crash at Road Atlanta. His brakes failed and he went head-on into the wall at full speed.
Many teams test at Road Atlanta to get ready for the two road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen because of the testing ban. But since Road Atlanta is not a NASCAR sanctioned facility, its safety standards are not up to par with tracks that are sanctioned.