NASCAR Nationwide Series: Welcoming the COT in 2011
It was NASCAR's mission to bring back make identity and character to each of the series' cars, making their start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
While Dodge changed their Charger to the Challenger, Ford brought the well-known Mustang to the grid. Though, as these changes occurred, Toyota kept their original Camry and Chevrolet kept the Impala. Each car, no matter if they were changed in make or not, exemplified an extreme difference in shape and build, resembling the box-like front end of the current Sprint Cup Series car.
The new COT brought the safety up a notch as well. In each car, the driver now sits closer to the center, trying to create an invisible barrier for the driver from most driver's-side contact. The car also gives the driver much more head room and visibility to the track than the previous Nationwide Series car.
After four runs this season- starting at Daytona, heading to Michigan, then Richmond, and ending their 2010 debut at Charlotte, the car will be put to full use on the 2011 Nationwide Series schedule.
The debut gave fans a whole new look of their favorite cars out on the track, each now given their own personality to give fans the quick-look identity they use to have. In no particular order, let's recap the debut season each of them had.
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The COT debut set out with a bang, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the first to drive the car into Victory Lane, especially with it being painted in his father's Wrangler No. 3 paint scheme. The win itself is unforgettable, but for those with the closer eye, the shocking shape and body on the car he did it in is almost equally unforgettable.
Chevrolet kept its Impala as they have had in previous years, and currently in the Sprint Cup Series. Much talk was given as to why Chevy did not release it as the Camaro, and with that Chevrolet gave an announcement as to why they kept with the Impala.
“We’ve looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn't be," Head of GM's Racing Program, Mark Kent stated, "We looked at NASCAR, for example — took a very hard look at running the Camaro in the Nationwide series."
So for now, it's time to recognize the Impala's new figure and look as a race car of the future, not the past.
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The Ford Mustang, one of the most awaited cars to enter the Nationwide Series, made its debut along with the rest of them and grabbed 'Stang fans from all over the country to follow it on the track.
Ford took a chance by putting the Mustang on the track, but overall succeeded with such a task, the car looking just as it does on the street. The headlining 'headlights' stand out along with the original pony emblem on the grill.
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While Toyota, like Chevrolet, kept the original model they have had in previous years, they upgraded the size and made the Toyota Camry have a more striking presence. A slightly more rounded hood and the new splitter set it apart from the other makes- the reason as to why the cars were changed in the first place.
It has not been worded as to whether or not Toyota will change the model in the near future, so for now the Camry will stay in the Nationwide Series just as it is in the Sprint Cup Series as well.
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Claiming the 2010 Nationwide Series Championship, Brad Keselowski took his Dodge to the winner's circle.
Chosen as one of the favorites of the new cars by the fans, Dodge hit a high note with their striking Challenger presented to the series. The shape featured much of the actual Challenger, along with the intricate grill and design.