The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season was the first season with the new cars. NASCAR worked closely with the car manufacturers in order to make the cars look like cars that one could buy. This is supposed to connect with the fans better. It is also a throwback to the times when NASCAR actually raced cars that were on the show room floor. Those days are gone due to safety but that doesn’t mean the cars can’t represent those same cars that can be purchased by the fans.
The new cars looked great. The 2013 Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry look good. The fans have connected to the new cars and have welcomed them. They are very happy to get rid of the nondescript Car of Tomorrow. The only question was how they would race on the track.
Right off the bat the cars worked great at Daytona. There did not appear to be an advantage over any manufacturer. Two car tandem racing was all but gone and pack racing was back. Racing at the intermediate tracks (1.5 and 2 mile) was a different story.
NASCAR and Goodyear worked hard providing additional testing and tires in order to increase competitive racing at the 1.5 mile tracks. The only mistake NASCAR made is early in the season finning Denny Hamlin for criticizing the new cars. It was a mistake because Hamlin’s comments were not really that critical and more factual. That fine put the spotlight on the racing at 1.5 mile speedways for the rest of the season.
In the end NASCAR, Goodyear and the team’s efforts started paying off and there was much better racing on those tracks. NASCAR continued this effort with a rare if not unprecedented test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway before Christmas to improve racing further.
Make no mistake about it. NASCAR, Goodyear, and the Manufactures intend to continue improving these cars and the racing. This story will continue throughout 2014.