We've already shown you the new Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger cars that will soon be running in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but Chevy also introduced a new Impala car and Toyota a new Camry. All four new cars were out at Talladega Superspeedway today for some test runs, which gives us our first chance to view the new, more production-like bodies in the revealing light of day.
What we've learned is that all four manufacturers – Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota – worked with NASCAR to develop the new body types that look markedly more like their production counterparts than cars raced in the upper level Sprint Cup. Those cars, based on the NASCAR Car of Tomorrow chassis, look identical from the bleachers, making the task of identifying your favorite brand practically impossible. Not so with the new Nationwide Series cars. They actually have distinct shapes that clearly communicate which pony car and/or family sedan you're watching race.
We wondered how much these new bodies would affect aerodynamics and give some brands with sleeker designs an edge, and we're told that all four cars are within "three horsepower of drag and just a few pounds of downforce." Those teams that might have an advantage are likely Chevrolet and Toyota, both of which opted to base their cars on family sedans – the Impala and Camry – with sleeker front ends. The Mustang and Challenger cars may suffer a disadvantage when it comes to wind with their more upright and recessed grilles, but Ford and Dodge will surely win the PR war with their iconic pony cars on the track.