The Chevrolet Impala SS (above) and the Dodge Avenger Concept car to be run next year in NASCAR

To compete with Toyota, Chevy and Dodge switching up their models to be raced in the NEXTEL Cup’s 2007 Season.

by Mike Zimmer, Fan of the Monte Carlo

News from Detroit not involving the Tigers has 2 of the big 3 auto makers who supply the basis for the stock car models that run in NASCAR will be changing nameplates for the 2007 season.   Dodge will be moving away from the Charger which is a larger model and has been plagued by aerodynamic troubles since it was introduced into the NASCAR ranks a few seasons ago.   The Charger has also been hindered by sluggish sales as a mid-sized car that is being billed as a muscular athletic one–something that doesn’t scream “BUY ME!!!”.   Meanwhile, Chevy which seems set on scrapping the Monte Carlo which has seen equally sluggish sales  and abandoning it’s rear wheel drive platform (the only one in the new GM fleet with a differing platform) is changing too.   On a personal note, I am mad that once again  Chevy is shelving the Monte Carlo–a car that in it’s many incarnations I have really liked and always  wanted.   I was dead set on buying a new one  once my truck was paid off–but alas they most likely won’t be around in 2-years when that happens.  

In an effort to win at both the dealerships and in the hearts of racing fans and racing teams–both Dodge and Chevy are trying to stay in step with NASCAR newcomer Toyota who is expected to be a major player right off the bat in their rookie season of mostly  turning left.   Toyota has a nice stable of drivers amongst what seems to be growing teams of big name drivers.   Although struggling the last 2 seasons,  Michael Waltrip headlines  the drivers who made the switch to the first foreign automaker to  be allowed to enter into NASCAR.   Toyota will run the very good selling Camry and fall into line with Ford who’s Focus is a mid-sized family car which has some sporty option models that are being pawned off on NASCAR Dad’s who watch the sport.

Thusly, Dodge and Chevy are  throwing in their mid-size cars in the  Impala which was re-styled last year and the new concept from Deimler-Chrysler in the Avenger.   NASCAR runs VERY similar set ups within all of the models on the circuit with very few real advantages from one maker to another equalled out and riggorously tested to make sure they are all within specs of dust similar.   The similarities in styles, sizes and aerodynamics is the fuel behind the racing portion of the  switch but down at the root of things, the car makers are HUGE sponcers to the racing series and pump millions into the sport  via their  investment in making racing a viable advertising  and research venture.

Along that same line of reasoning for the switch  at the big league level of racing,  NASCAR’s junior  circuit most recently called  the Busch Series–all of the cars entered into that level of racing will also be getting new car likenesses.   The Busch series  which will be getting a new name this next year–is the proving  ground for many young drivers on the NASCAR career path as well as a testing ground for the veterans who run the series as a tune-up to the top end racing.   The cars that were rumored to be used on the Busch Series  are the new Ford Mustang “Cobra” throwback,  Chevy’s re-introduction of the Camero, Dodge  Challenger and Toyota Solara.