If you're a NASCAR fan, then you may already know this, but I'm going to mention it for everybody else: Next year, NASCAR intends to change over to a modified Car of Tomorrow platform in its Nationwide Series. Early speculation included possible entries from Dodge (Challenger), Chevrolet (Camaro), Ford (Mustang) and Toyota (Solara). Well, Dodge and Ford are already signed up for next year's Nationwide Series; however, Toyota has discontinued its Solara model, so it won't be competing. But where does that leave the Chevy Camaro?
Well, take a look at this article from Steven Cole, writing for the Orlando Sentinel. It confirms that Chevrolet is indeed saying "no thanks" to NASCAR's invite to join the Nationwide Series -- although, Chevrolet will be entering its Impala model for competition. But I think the most interesting angle on this story is why Chevrolet chooses not to compete with the Camaro in NASCAR. And it's a decision that I completely agree with, by the way.
Cole interviewed Mark Kent, head of General Motors racing programs, to find out why. Basically, here's what it boils down to: Of course Chevrolet is interested in racing its Camaro, but it also doesn't want the strong brand identity to suffer. Kent said "one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn't be." Kent added, "because of the quest for very close competition and the need to have templated bodies in that series, we felt that by forcing the Camaro into the Nationwide templates that we were compromising the body lines of an iconic car."
I couldn't agree more. Brand identity should remain strong for the Camaro in whatever series they choose to compete. Think about it: Why take a car that has a long and (mostly) successful history, not to mention a classic, easily recognizable shape and stuff it in a series where the only way to discern a Ford from a Chevy or a Dodge from a Toyota is by the decals adhered to a cookie-cutter body? This seems like a smart decision from the folks at Chevrolet. Do you agree?
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