NASCAR met with team owners from the Nationwide Series on Tuesday to discuss the rollout schedule for that series’ new racecar. The new car will make a limited debut next year, following the precedent set by the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow to Sprint Cup in 2007. Among the four new models to appear as bodyshells with the new car is the Ford Mustang.
“We had a very productive meeting this morning with the team owners from the NASCAR Nationwide Series about the rollout schedule for that series’ new racecar.” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “In the days ahead, we will digest what was discussed and make a final decision on the rollout for next season with full anticipation of integrating the new car for the entire 2011 schedule.”
Although the Mustang was the only new model announced for Nationwide competition, the other three are tipped to be Dodge Challenger, Chevy Impala SS and Toyota Camry.
“Right now the consensus is that the latter part of the year, we’ll go to three intermediate tracks or ovals – because it may include a Richmond or something else – and in, the first half of the year, it looks like we’re going to try to tackle potentially two speedways, Talladega and Daytona,” Pemberton added. He said NASCAR hopes to have a rollout schedule finalized before the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen.
A meeting with approximately 125 team fabricators and crew chiefs followed the meeting with team owners at NASCAR’s techt center in Concord, N.C. Pemberton said car builders can expect to start receiving templates for the new cars in approximately two weeks.
“We’re excited about Mustang coming to NASCAR,” said Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsports. “It’s the most successful product nameplate in racing history, and it seems only right that it should be coming to the most popular form of racing in North America.
“We had been talking with NASCAR for some time about Mustang as part of its vision for a ‘muscle car’ rollout for the Nationwide Series. We both saw it as a way of differentiating the series from Sprint Cup. ... I think race fans – and Mustang loyalists – will be very pleased when we publicly roll out the first car later this fall.”
When it is introduced, the new Nationwide Series car will look and drive differently from the Cup Series’ COT. The Nationwide car will feature a more traditional spoiler instead of a rear wing and a spring front suspension instead of bump stops.
“We’re fairly wrapped up on what the look of the car is,” Pemberton said. “Though our testing – all of the wind-tunnel numbers – everybody’s pretty much in line, regardless of what platform they decide to market on. The numbers are very good and in close range to be competitive, downforce-wise and drag, things like that.”