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NASCAR's new Nationwide car? Slowly, slowly it is making its way to the track | NASCAR Racing Breaking News: Trackside Live, Every Week, Every Sprint Cup Race - MikeMulhern.net


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NASCAR's new Nationwide car? Slowly, slowly it is making its way to the track

   By Mike Mulhern

   FONTANA, Calif.
   That new NASCAR Nationwide car, that series' version of the Cup tour's car-of-tomorrow (COT), though with a few more Detroit styling cues than the current Cup racers, is apparently a slow, slow work in progress – that is, in terms of getting car owners to invest the money and time in the new creation, in these tight economic times.
   The Cup COT debuted in the spring of 2007, and it's still controversial.
   The Nationwide COT has been delayed, mainly for economic reasons. At one point it was to debut this past June at Michigan. Then there was hope by some car makers and owners to have it debut at Daytona next February in the season-opener.
   Now NASCAR officials have finally pinned down an introduction schedule for the new Nationwide car, for four races in 2010, beginning at Daytona in July, followed by Michigan in August, Richmond in September, and Charlotte in October.
    NASCAR says "full integration of the new car into the NASCAR Nationwide schedule is targeted for the 2011 season."
    One problem is the economics of the Nationwide series, which has been dominated by Cup drivers and Cup teams. The cost for a top, winning Nationwide team is around $10 million a year. And sponsors are hard to find. (Jack Roush did just land one, Copart, for 16 Nationwide races as primary sponsor for Carl Edwards.)
   In fact some team owners find it easier to persuade a $10 million sponsor to jump on a Cup car, even if not for the entire season, than to sell that sponsor on a full-time Nationwide deal.
   And then there is the economic backlash in NASCAR from Detroit's own woes – General Motors and Dodge and Ford have all but abandoned corporate backing for the Nationwide and Truck series (even though the two tours tend to have much more exciting racing than the Cup tour).
   On the Nationwide side, the new car is being heavily promoted by Ford, in part because of the added styling cues NASCAR is allowing. However Chevrolet, which has a rival muscle car in the Camaro, has so far declined to let the new Camaro compete in Nationwide next year against the Mustang. (Dodge's future in NASCAR is the subject of conjecture at the moment, with the abrupt firing of CEO and racing boss Mike Accavitti.) Toyota has no muscle car to promote, so it will run the Camry logo on its 2010 Nationwide cars.


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