Generals Motors is singing a different tune when it comes to the Chevrolet Camaro’s place in NASCAR.
Chevy will field Camaro ZL1 race cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starting in 2018, meaning the pony car will be the only stock racer the American automaker fields across all series. Although some might feel the car isn’t a great fit for NASCAR’s premier series, GM’s vice president of global product development Mark Reuss backed the move, saying “Chevrolet, Camaro and ZL1 are all synonymous with winning, both on and off the track.”
That’s fine, except the implementation of the Camaro, as well as Reuss’ comments, runs in stark contrast with what GM was saying roughly a decade ago.
“We’ve looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn’t be,” Mark Kent, director of GM’s racing programs, told Autoweek back in 2009. “We looked at NASCAR, for example–took a very hard look at running the Camaro in the Nationwide series. That was a request made of us by NASCAR, and we have had a tremendous partnership with NASCAR, so we took a very hard look at it.
“At the end of the day, because of the quest for very close competition and the need to have templated bodies in that series, we felt that by forcing the Camaro into the Nationwide templates that we were compromising the body lines of an iconic car.”
Lots has changed since 2009, of course, and not just Chevy’s attitude regarding the Camaro. The current Gen-6 body style was intended to, among other things, bring the appearance of the Cup cars more in line with the ones in the showroom.
Chevy in 2013 replaced the Impala with the Camaro SS in the then-Nationwide Series, so the car’s arrival in Cup — and subsequent ditching of the Chevy SS — shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
Still, it’s rather amusing that a car whose manufacturer once believed wasn’t a good fit in NASCAR now will be the only Chevy that fans see on race weekends.
Thumbnail photo via NASCAR