Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Here comes the new NASCAR Mustang....so where's that new NASCAR Camaro?

    Enough design cues here? (Photo: Autostock)

     By Mike Mulhern

     CONCORD, N.C.
     Remember the old Trans-Am days, back at the dawn of the muscle-car era: The Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, the Javelin, Pontiac Firebird, Dodge Challenger……
     Well, that might just be what NASCAR's Nationwide series ought to become.
     Instead of racing those Sunday family sedans on Saturdays, NASCAR ought to revive the pony-car.
     That's what Edsel Ford thinks.
     And Ford's new NASCAR Mustang is a first step.
    Now if only Chevrolet will get on board this train.
    "Wouldn't it be great if Nationwide was the series where we could all got down and dirty again, like we did in the Trans-Am days, where the Mustangs and the Camaros and the Dodges," Ford was saying the other day as NASCAR executives officially gave their blessing to the new Mustang in something of a celebration over at Jack Roush's shop just down the street from Lowe's Motor Speedway.
   "That's All-American racing to me," Ford says. "That's what I grew up on. That's what we all grew up on."
    Ford, himself once part of the pony-car Mustang-Sixties, complete with pony-tail, when a teenager, has put his chips on the NASCAR table, was enthusiastic, even almost giddy, in watching the unveiling of Ford's new Nationwide Mustang.
    But where is the Chevy Camaro?
    "Hey, that's a good question," Ford responded.
    "I've had this flashback to the Trans-Am series. When I was growing up, that was where you went. That's where the manufacturers went, that's where we dueled every weekend. Whether it was Mid-Ohio or wherever, that was the duel.
   "Quite frankly I think it's really time again.
    "I've always wondered why we just didn't start with this thing. I would have started with the Mustang, way back when (when Ford kicked off its NASCAR venture in the Busch, now Nationwide, series, back in the 1980s).
   "Now the first aero-Thunderbird (that Bill Elliott Special) in the mid-1980s was probably the right car (for Cup).
   "But as time has progressed, the question should be asked 'Why didn't you lead with Mustang?'
   "Because it is the performance car…our performance car.
    "And I am glad, really glad, we're doing this now."

    Chevrolet executives insist they don't think the NASCAR Nationwide body rules give them enough 'design cues' to distinguish their Camaro from other manufacturers' cars. That, of course, has long been a complaint about NASCAR's Cup-side common template racers, which – underneath the decals and paint – all look exactly alike.
   NASCAR has allowed a few more nose and tail design cues with the Nationwide car, but still not enough, apparently, to persuade Chevy's Brent Dewar to okay the Camaro for NASCAR competition.
   But Edsel Ford says he's fine with the product right now.
   And Ford men appear eager to rub Chevrolet's nose in it, with this Mustang, while Chevy teams say they plan to keep using the Impala-logoed car in both Saturday and Sunday events.
   While Chevrolet is still nixing the Camaro here, and Toyota insists it has no muscle-car in its lineup, Dodge – despite all the NASCAR questions still to be answered by new CEO Ralph Gilles, in the wake of last week's management shakeup – is ready to rock and roll in Nationwide. And of course Chrysler MoPar fans are legendary.

   Edsel Ford says this racer looks enough like a street Mustang to satisfy him. "Yes," Ford said. "I'd only seen this in pictures, but when I first saw it today, I said 'This is a Mustang.'
   "I was really happy the way the bodywork came out.
   "And that helps a lot.
    "This exposure in this series for Mustang will be very good. And I'm sure the Mustang clubs around the country are very happy with what we're doing for Mustang. I think the Mustangs fans are thrilled we're in Nationwide."
    Will this 'design cued' Mustang perhaps be a start toward getting NASCAR's stock cars back in line with what people really drive out on the street, instead of cookie-cutter common-template designed race cars?
   "Wouldn't that be nice….but we'll have to find out what the fans say. They are our final touch, them and the people who go to the showroom.
   "With the internet we can quickly find that out too."

       The original Trans-Am series was largely road racing; but NASCAR has pushed its Nationwide series toward more road course, and NASCAR has pointed to more road racing perhaps for that tour. It not only runs Watkins Glen, but also Montreal, and it's run Mexico City, and it could run Sonoma….even the Long Beach Grand Prix course, probably, and possibly even many of the course the current Grand American series runs. In fact when the Grand Am went to test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few weeks ago, there was also discussion of putting some Nationwide road racing cars (from Montreal/Watkins Glen) on that course too.
   And then maybe NASCAR should be running this new model at more than just four tracks next season (Daytona in July, Michigan in August, Richmond in September, and Charlotte in October). It's hard to set any decent marketing campaign around a four-race schedule.
   Ford says NASCAR really should be debuting the new Nationwide car at Daytona next February.
   But then maybe NASCAR is still hoping to persuade Chevrolet to get on board.
   "It's up to NASCAR what tracks it wants to use," Ford says. "But then the more exposure we get in Nationwide, the better off we all are.
  "This is a great series, with good, competitive drivers, and young guys coming up.
   "Frankly, I would love to see Jack campaign all those cars. That would be wonderful."
   Maybe Edsel Ford can help twist NASCAR's arm and add more events?
   "No one twists NASCAR's arm," Ford says with a laugh.


  Edsel Ford (third from the right), with Jack Roush's new NASCAR Mustang. (Photo: Autostock)



camaro kid

the camaro should be there for 2010 season what is chevy thinking, i got to say ford and dodge have guts to put there cars out there i think its great. hope chevy wakes up get the camaro out there.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com