Ready for the return of the muscle car in NASCAR?
As NASCAR tries to revive interest in its Nationwide Series while at the same time implementing the COT, a legendary car likely will make its return to the racetrack. Ford reportedly will run the Mustang in the Nationwide Series beginning with a few races next year and full time in 2011.
Not all manufacturers have announced the models for the new Nationwide cars, but it is expected Chevrolet will run the Impala SS, Dodge will run the Challenger and Toyota will go with its Camry brand. Obviously, having Mustang included will bring a new level of excitement to the struggling series.
“We’re excited about Mustang coming to NASCAR,” Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsports, told NASCAR.com. “It’s the most successful product nameplate in racing history, and it seems only right that it should be coming to the most popular form of racing in North America.
“We had been talking with NASCAR for some time about Mustang as part of its vision for a ‘muscle car’ rollout for the Nationwide Series. We both saw it as a way of differentiating the series from Sprint Cup. I think race fans and Mustang loyalists will be very pleased when we publicly roll out the first car later this fall.”
Though final plans will be introduced as early as this weekend, the new Nationwide Series car will look and drive differently from the Sprint Cup Series’ COT. The Nationwide car will feature a more traditional spoiler instead of a rear wing and a spring front suspension instead of bump stops.
“We’re fairly wrapped up on what the look of the car is,” Pemberton said. “Though our testing — all of the wind-tunnel numbers — everybody’s pretty much in line, regardless of what platform they decide to market on. The numbers are very good and in close range to be competitive, downforce-wise and drag, things like that.”
The only disappointing thing is that Chevrolet isn’t running the Camaro. But if Ford has success with the Mustang, surely more muscle car brands will follow. We can only hope.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...