• Jul 3rd 2010 at 5:04PM
  • 92
Last fall, NASCAR, Ford and Dodge all made a lot of noise about the introduction of the Mustang and Challenger bodies into the Nationwide race series. This all came after the latest Sprint Cup "Car of Tomorrow" drew criticism because all four participating brands had identical body shells, none of which looked like the stock road cars that lend them their names. The initial renderings focused on the front ends of the new racers, which featured more upright noses like the real pony cars you'll find in dealer showrooms.

Unfortunately, with this weekend's race debut of the Mustang and Challenger at Daytona, NASCAR proves yet again that nothing has really changed. Despite the the upright front ends, these cars don't look markedly different from each other, or even the Sprint Cup cars, for that matter. With the headlight and grille stickers blurred out, neither of the new Nationwide stockers looks like a pony car. Can you tell which is which? Check out the originals after the jump.

Ford "Mustang"

Dodge "Challenger"

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      NASCAR has got to get over this cookie cutter COT. They can make all the excuses in the world, those cars are the same.

      They ran different cars for over 40 years. Time to cut your losses, say COT was a fail and go back to silhouette cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is the point of NASCAR.It's not the car it's the DRIVER!!!!!!!! and kind of the car,but thats secondary.

        See:Dale Jr drives an Amp energy sponsored 'Chevy Impala'. Because he is beloved by millions of red-necks all over the country,they will be peruaded to buy a can of Amp energy on their way home from the Chevy dealer in their new Equinox.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Forget about silhouettes ... how about stock car racing go back to ... oh, stock cars? "Win on Sunday/sell on Monday" can't apply if one can't walk into the respective dealer and buy their favorite family car with a carburated V8 and RWD.

        I'd care for the sport if indeed they were racing cars as bought off a showroom (with additional safety equipment, of course), as it was in the earlier years. But they aren't, so I don't.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well they have the Grand-AM Series but the France Family (they own Nascar) doesnt promote it properly. They race cars we can buy, save for the Daytona prototypes. That and with the Rx-8's, the Mustang's, the Camaro's it pretty much is a modern day pony war raging on the track. Plus they race on actual tracks not ovals going in on direction save for what 2 times a year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What's amusing is that Nascar could be a selling advantage for GM and Chrysler and Ford.

        But it's not. No one but the demented 'Special Dale Edition Impala' buyers actually go after a car because of its record on Nascar.

        These COTs are very safe. I'll give them that. But they actually show customers just how terrible the actual Camry or Impala is as a sports car. A throaty V8, huge rear wheels, sexy low car with a stickshift... hard to find one of these at a Toyota dealership.

        The dealers should insist on stock cars being raced, but I don't think Nascar is about actual motorsport (testing a car's ability) so much as it is about selling adverts from Lowe's and Burger King. They need marketable drivers, with reliable, risk free results. They need a product.

        That's why the car's make means nothing... it really isn't important to the 'sport'.

        And really, would you watch Camrys and Impalas on an endurance race? I see that on the interstate. AMLS is where motorsport is at in this country.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @narf: THANK YOU! That's exactly my sentiments. I want to be able to go down to the showroom and buy what these people are racing. That's the way it used to be and why it was called "stock car racing". And that is what provided incentive for manufacturers to help sponsor the teams because they could get sales out of it. I honestly don't know what they're getting out of NASCAR in its current state.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I tend to watch WTCC, BTCC and DMT racing. First thing, they race on courses, not in an arena, and second they are closer to production models than anything NASCAR races. Gosh, I remember watching old NASCAR races at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the 1950s - even convertibles. Ah the good old days.........well I'll take the modern Touring Cars over NASCAR anyday!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Both GT3 and GT1 races from Paul Ricard in France were BETTER than the Nationwide race on Friday or the Cup race on Saturday you can watch either them them from the FIA World GT1 web site or the FIA European GT3 web site. MUCH BETTER, no bias and with cars you can actually BUY and aren't that far from the road car.
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        Really? I mean c'mon. You really couldn't of come up with something more unoriginal if you tried.
      • 5 Years Ago
      National Association for [Stock Car] Auto Racing
      • 5 Years Ago
      So this is all about how the sides, roof and decklid of these two car look the same? What does one expect? It is just sheet metal. How many curves do you want vs. how many curves are on the side of these cars? It isn't going to matter aero wise and they are just going to bang up the side of the cars and repairing it would be horribly difficult if it was anything more complex then flat sheet metal. They have a different hood, rear end and nose. What more do you want?
        • 5 Years Ago
        We want them to look like their road-going counterparts, not a 1994 Monte Carlo.

        My opinion: Leave the Nascar "COT" alone. Obviously there's a lot of people that like watching it go in circles for hours and hours, and it's a big money maker. But, please create a class, division, whatever that actually uses, wait for it, stock cars (or at the very least, stock appearing).

        On a side note, I love the term "car of tomorrow". A completely dated term that perfectly compliments the dated tech in "stock" car racing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't really mind that samey cars. After all F1 cars aren't exactly different either and no one ever complains about them, do they?. The COT was implemented for safety and to end the aero wars. A manufacturer might be winning like crazy (which they like) and suddenly find themselves at the bottom of the field after introducing a new car (which they do not like). Took a bit of headache out of the equation.

      That said, I do think Nascar should introduce a "GT" series where they race actual Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers like the good old days of Trans Am racing. Would add a bit of variety.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree they should have a 'kinda' stock car series where a production coupe's sheet metal is used, and perhaps a stock motor (mainly the block) is used as the propulsion basis. Maybe limit to sub-4L v6s, naturally aspirated with FI and 6 speed manuals. Let any mfgr that wants to run just pay an entrance fee for getting cars certified to fit the needed specs.

        The uber-series could still retain its uni-car format to highlight the drivers if they wanted. And it really does not matter what model sticker pkg any of them run. One driver could have a 'Focus' set, another Ford-engined driver could use 'stang. Whatever the mfgrs wanted to advertise goes for that.

        But the movement of NASCAR from 'Stock Car' to 'Same Car' is hurting them (along with the crud economy).
        • 5 Years Ago
        F1 is designed to be raced with identical cars, NASCAR was designed to be raced with "stock" cars, the problem is that's not true anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As someone in the UK who doesn't care for NASCAR, I reckon I'd definitely be more interested if the cars actually looked like the American icons they're trying to be. The Mustang, Camaro and Challenger conjure up powerful, almost romantic images for some UK car fans, but they aren't represented by the fud car shapes in current NASCAR.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does anyone even know why the cars look identical? It's because all of the teams and manufacturers kept whining every time they were at a disadvantage. NASCAR got tired of all of the whining and decided to make everything equal. You can't have unique body's for each manufacturer without one having an aero advantage over the others and if they do go back to unique body's then the whining will start up again.

      The idea of racing a "stock car" in NASCAR is a misnomer because they never raced pure stock cars, not even in the beginning of NASCAR. Junior Johnson and all the other original guys always modified the cars that they raced. The funny thing is that now that NASCAR has made things equal, the competition is better than ever, ie more teams and drivers have a realistic shot at winning now more than ever, and yet fans are complaining more than ever. I guess fans prefer to have only a handful of cars that have a realistic chance of winning every week while everyone else finishes 3 or 4 or more laps down. Me, I like it the way that things are now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The hardcore fans are being turned off, and there are now empty seats at NASCAR tracks, something that was unheard of ten years ago. There's a saying that a family-run business goes off the rails with the third generation, and Brian France is proving the saying right.

      I used to watch NASCAR back in the '60s and '70s, but it's just not the same now. "Racertainment" just doesn't cut it. Get away from the COT cars and go back to bodies-in-white.
      • 5 Years Ago
      beind a fan for 40 years i dont even watch it anymore,NACAR REALLY SUCKS NOW
      • 5 Years Ago
      As long as the beer flows, who cares.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah fans with no real automotive knowledge don't know that NASCAR is keeping things on the stupid side because it wants single car teams to be competitive or teams that are heavy on technology savvy beating the pulp out of the "Tradionalist" like Childress.

      Rick Hendrick brought NASCAR into the 20th Century by employing many real engineers to run and build his car(s) and teams. What you THINK you saw in Days of Thunder was so far from the truth its not even funny.

      There is no excuse for NASCAR to have racing cars almost a foot wider than the standard car, calling that "safer". The problem wasn't so much the car(s) it was hitting a solid object at more than 190mph. But Kenny Irwin's and Adam Petty's death both happen at the fairly low speed Louden Raceway. For them it was the angle into the wall, but safer barriers was the correct move.

      For those that can't stand NASCAR and all its rigging of the game with debris cautions or because its off the reservation with its links back to production cars, we should call EMAIL Ford, GM and Chrysler that we would still consider their products if they raced in somewhat less visible series like ALMS or supplying production based engines to IRL.

      After last night's joke and JPM effectively being eliminated from The Chase, I will only watch the upcoming road course events in Montreal for Nationwide and both the Nationwide and Cup events at Watkins Glen, after that I will be turning off NASCAR and I suggest the rest of you tried of this tripe to do it as well.

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