It's not inconceivable that by 2013 NASCAR's top division may feature the same sorts of performance cars that currently are being integrated into the Nationwide Series.
Jamie Allison, Ford's director of North American Motorsports, is already on record that the company would contemplate running the Mustang in NASCAR's Sprint Cup division.
Perhaps the most interesting prospect, however, is that Chevrolet may entertain running the Camaro in the Cup series, a move the automaker declined to make when choosing the nameplate for its Nationwide car. Ford and Dodge run so-called “pony cars”—the Mustang and Challenger, respectively—in Nationwide. Chevrolet fields the Impala SS and Toyota the Camry.
The manufacturers' confidence in NASCAR's ability to aero-match different models with different design features and to maintain an efficient, equitable inspection process could help pave the way to more design freedom as the Cup car evolves.
“I'll never say never,” said Pat Suhy, GM Racing's NASCAR group manager, when asked whether Chevrolet would consider racing the Camaro. “I think a lot of it depends on what we're talking about in terms of the canvas we're given to work with.
“The canvas we had for the car today was basically from the cowl forward and from the out(side) forward corner of the headlights kind of into the windshield. The fenders, the lower (valance), the sides, the tail, the deck lid—all that stuff is pretty common (to all Cup models).”
Though that's hardly a green light for the Camaro, it's enough to give muscle car fans hope. So is the acknowledgement from Toyota that something other than the Camry could be in the offing—just not now.
Lee White, president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development, USA, said at this point, “We're selling Camrys,” but didn't rule out the introduction of a high-performance model in the future.
'There's change coming'
Though nothing's official, 2013 is looking like the year for major changes in the Cup car. White said Toyota will introduce a new production car that same year.