After more than three years of work, countless hours in the wind tunnel, millions of dollars spent by teams and manufacturers and numerous on-track tests, the new Nationwide Series car debuts this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
The Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Toyota Camry usher in a new era in the series, an era NASCAR hopes creates a new identity for the Nationwide Series, as well as improves safety and decreases cost over time.
The Subway Jalapeno 250 is the first of four races for the new car — don’t call it the “car of tomorrow,” NASCAR insists — in 2010, with a full implementation next year. Many Nationwide Series teams fought the rollout of the car, and NASCAR backed off initial plans to use the car full time this season.
But after grumblings and complaints about the costs of the switchover, 44 cars are entered for this weekend’s race, one more than a full field.
“We think it’s very, very important for the Nationwide Series,” Nationwide Series director Joe Balash said. “We’ve been working on that project for a number of years now to try to put together what we feel is the best package to move the series forward, to continue to help us in all our safety aspects and to continue to tighten the competition on the race track. And that car is basically the formula that we put together to do that. We’re pretty excited about that launch in Daytona.”
The chassis is based on the Cup Series version of NASCAR’s “certified chassis,” with a few modifications. NASCAR has said more than half of the Nationwide chassis certified in its research and development center have been converted Cup cars.
Read the full story at NASCAR Nationwide Series.