COT II –NASCAR INSURES THE FUTURE OF THE NATIONWIDE SERIES

On Monday, Sept. 8, NASCAR rolled out some newly-designed cars for the Nationwide Series in a debut test session at Richmond International Raceway.  Since I drove down to announce the race and didn’t have to come back to Rochester at a specific time on Monday, I decided to stick around for a couple hours to see and take pics of the new car. 

Each manufacturer (Chevy, Dodge, Ford & Toyota) were allowed to bring two cars maximum to the test.  Richard Childress Racing and Johnny Davis Motorsports each brought a Chevy, Roush-Fenway had 2 Fords,
Chip Ganassi broght the lone Dodge and Michael Waltrip Racing provided the only Toyota.

Several drivers were on hand to test the new machines:  Bryan Clauson was first out in the Ganassi Dodge; Morgan Shepherd (long time friends with Johnny Davis Motorsports) tested their Chevy while Scott Wimmer handled the RCR Chevy; MWR & Toyota had David Reutimann shaking
down the new Camry and Roush-Fenway had Carl Edwards (fresh off his win at RIR Sunday night in the Nationwide Series) along with David Ragan and Colin Braun driving the Fords.

The main difference between the current NASCAR Nationwide car and the new car is the chassis and the body.  Whereas the current chassis has a 105” wheel base, the new car will be a 110” NASCAR certified chassis, the same as the current NASCAR Sprint Cup car. This will also allow current NASCAR Nationwide Series components to be brought forward in an effort to contain costs.

Here’s a really GOOD thing:  the new car will provide the same safety enhancements that are in place on the current NASCAR Sprint Cup car and will also make more bolt-on parts interchangeable (for example, rear end housing), creating cost savings for the teams. One BIG difference:  the new car will continue to use the rear spoiler whereas the NASCAR
Sprint Cup car has a wing.  However, on the new Nationwide COT, the spoiler mounting location is located 2″ forward of the current car’s spoiler.

The car also utilizes a similar front “splitter” to the NASCAR COT Cup car, although the “lip” is 2″ shorter.  Engines are the same as the current Nationwide Series cars except for the spacer design (it’s now closer to the intake).

The body designs, especially the front nose, are a work in progress–so much so, in fact, that NASCAR asked all of us taking pictures to try and avoid shooting the front ends of the Chevy and the Dodge in the shots (Toyota and Ford had no such restrictions on the photographers–hmmmm).

So here they are, in alphabetical order:  first, the Chevy…

Now, the Dodge…(this one is intriguing…)

Here’s the Ford…

and finally, the Toyota…

More testing will be done soon at Lowes Motors Speedway and other tracks with more teams and cars.  Final approval of each manufacturer’s design is still some time away as the teams gather more data from each test to submit to NASCAR. 

I will try to keep you posted!

For more information on Richmond International Raceway,
visit their website:  www.rir.com

Mike Paz, Motorsports Announcer