NASCAR's New Look

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Since 2007, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series — its most elite racing tier — featured cars from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota with the same basic shape and little to distinguish them other than decals used to imitate headlights, grilles and taillights. Fans began to complain about how similar the racecars looked soon after their introduction.

“While successful in introducing a safe car, it lacked manufacturer-specific attributes. Manufacturers had very little room to make them representative other than with decals,” says Mark Kent, director of GM racing. “For 2013, the all-new car builds on the current car but allows manufacturers the opportunity to make them look like their production counterparts.”

NASCAR and the automakers worked closely together to design the new racecar, making them seem closer to the everyday versions seen in millions of garages nationwide.

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The new car’s overall shape is sleeker and more proportional to a real car with a laid-down windshield that curves like a production car. Each Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry on the track has individual characteristics beyond merely stickers and features unique front and rear styling. The 2013 Fusion’s trademark upright, horizontally slotted grille looks the same on the racecar as it does on the road car.

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Preseason testing looks promising and fans can see the end result when the new car runs its first full race in the Dayton 500 on Sunday.

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Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: Email Joe Bruzek

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