Will Ford Ever Consolidate it’s NASCAR Efforts? Yes, Slowly.

Roger Penske knows how to run both businesses and auto racing teams. Ford know this.

Roger Penske knows how to run both businesses and auto racing teams. Ford know this.

When you look at the NASCAR manufacturers involvement in NASCAR history shows that they come and go. Not on the level of frequency that we see in Formula One, but at a fraction of the cost to participate, it’s more common in NASCAR.

NASCAR remains an American series despite making inroads, at times, onto the global stage. It’s American football and soccer.

GM made the decision long ago that Hendrick would be it’s ‘Factory’ team. Spreading out it’s support to other from a central body, this has allowed teams like Stewart-Haas racing to bloom. Ford appears to be moving down that same path perhaps by 2018.

Roush Racing is no longer the spearhead for Ford’s NASCAR efforts as it once was. That baton has been apparently been passed to Roger Penske without fanfare.

Despite his age, Roger Penske lives and breathes auto racing and business. Rarely staying in one place for more than a few hours, Penske is in constant motion often having lunch in New York and dinner in Paris.

Jack Roush has not been the ever-present figure that he once was when his team was a powerhouse. It’s had become fractured.

The biggest difference between these two men is that Roush is not adept at people skills and Roger Penske is a master of the art.

Oddly enough, the two were recently spotted having dinner in a Naples, Florida restaurant. To be a fly on that wall.

No one can say that Jack Roush isn't an inveterate competitor, but not of late.

No one can say that Jack Roush isn’t an inveterate competitor, but not of late.

When Dodge left NASCAR it took Roger Penske no time at all to pick up the baton and move the Blue oval into a position of winning. And win they did.

Amassing 11 wins between drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in 2014 Penske proved that his system, chemistry and approach to the art of auto racing team management worked.

Penske was quite Machiavellian to make sure that his engine builders, from the Dodge era, moved over to Roush-Yates shop. Hence, no “B” motors for Penske.

Ford knows this and has placed it’s trust in the heavily involved septuagenarian who shows no signs of slowing down. Hence the Woods Brothers alliance.

It may seem strange that the Woods Brothers would align themselves with Penske rather than Roush, but Ford has a special place in their hearts for the iconic NASCAR team and Penske has the chassis, drivers and infrastructure to put them back in the winners circle.

That is exactly what Ford would love to see. This relationship goes back long before many of the current fans were born. With top engines from Roush-Yates coupled with the chassis and personnel that Penske seems to have covered, that possibility now exists.

Expect Ryan Blaney’s limited Cup schedule in 2015 to be at a very high level of performance and results. This young driver is going to be a star, Penske and Ford know this.

Although the Woods will run a limited schedule in 2015, it will be a Penske effort. That effort is designed to give the Woods Brothers the capability to return to a full time schedule in the Cup Series with a sponsor.

That, coupled with fact that Ford won’t have to hip pocket the Wood’s every effort, will be just what they want and need.

Penske running a two car team in NASCAR is one thing, but growing that model to three or four cars requires an overarching understanding of human beings, their passion, abilities and the alchemy of what we in the racing world call chemistry.

He’s proven that he knows how to do that in Indycar and every other form of motorsport, save Formula One, that he’s touched.

Will Penske move to a four car effort in 2016? Probably not, he has shown that what he has works and hopes to transfer that to a third car, the Woods car.

Don’t expect any announcements that Penske will run four cars anytime soon, however by 2018 the technical alliances may fold into the Penske stable one by one and will begin to resemble that of Hendrick.

 

 

2014 Was A Solid, Successful Season For Team Penske

Brad Keselowski won six races in 2014 and was an integral part of Team Penske's successful season.

Brad Keselowski won six races in 2014 and was an integral part of Team Penske’s successful season.

The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season was the year of Team Penske.

The two-car Ford team was, in the end, the best in the sport. Its drivers, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, combined to win 11 races and ultimately finish fourth (Logano) and fifth (Keselowski) in the final point standings.

But that is hardly the full story.

For most of the season Hendrick Motorsports held sway. The four-car team was in front, or near the front, of the point standings for the majority of the season.

After Atlanta, one race before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond, Hendrick teams claimed three of the top five in the point standings, with Jeff Gordon in first followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in second and Jimmie Johnson fifth.

The Hendrick foursome claimed 10 victories and, with all drivers in the Chase, there was little reason not to think that one of them would claim the title.

However, Logano was third in points and Keselowski fifth.

Keselowski dominated the last event before the Chase, at Richmond, which moved him to No 1 in points as the “playoffs” began.

Joey Logano, who won five races for Penske this year was, like Keselowski, ranked first in points more than once during the Chase.

Joey Logano, who won five races for Penske this year was, like Keselowski, ranked first in points more than once during the Chase.

He won again at Chicago and scored top-10 finishes at Loudon and Dover to be atop the standings after the first elimination round.

But guess what? In that first round Logano scored three top-five finishes, including a win at Loudon.

Penske was one-two in points with Keselowski in the lead. Hendrick drivers Johnson, Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon, were fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

As has been reported often, the end for three of the Hendrick teams came at Kansas, the first race of the second elimination round.

Kasey Kahne finished 22nd, Earnhardt Jr. 39th after mechanical problems and Johnson 40th after he was involved in a multicar accident.

Their chances for survival quickly took a big hit, something not unusual in the new Chase format.

Keselowski didn’t fare much better. He wound up 37th and after the race, he, Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson were at the bottom of the 12-man ranking. Only eight would move on.

But consider this: Logano won at Kansas, which meant he would safely advance to the next round. Penske teams won five   three of the first five Chase races and finished second in another.

However, while Logano was atop the standings Keselowski was scrambling for his life.

He had only two races to save himself – and that he did with a victory at Talladega. He advanced and was eighth among the competitors who did so.     Consider that Penske won four of six Chase races. At the same time Hendrick had only one winner -Gordon – and three of its drivers were no longer in the Chase.

In the end, it wasn’t to be for Penske. Hendrick won the next two races with Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson.

Going into the third round, at Phoenix – the one that would determine the championship finalists – Logano was first in points and Keselowski seventh and holding on. 

Keselowski didn’t make it to Homestead. Logano did and was second in points.

It evolved that Kevin Harvick won at Homestead, as he did at Phoenix, and became he 2014 champion.

Logano, in the hunt at Homestead for most of the day, was very disappointed in his final 16th-place finish.

“I screwed up and hit the wall early and we were able to recover then had the mistake on pit road which didn’t give us enough time to recover from that,” he said. “It is unfortunate.

Execution was our strong point all year and we just didn’t do it at Homestead. For that reason we finished fourth after I think we scored the most points this whole Chase.

“This was an awesome experience. This is the first time I have had a shot at winning a championship and the first time I won more than one race in a season. It has been a spectacular year.”

Keselowski, who wound up a solid third at Homestead, was philosophical about the season.

“The fastest car all season – Kevin (Harvick) – won the championship,” he said. “I think that is right. We had the most wins and finished seventh.

“You can argue every case for a championship scenario but the reality is that we all knew what it took to win going in and Kevin and his team did it.”

But it must be said that what Team Penske – Logano and Keselowski – did was very admirable.

Eleven victories in 2014 joined by 33 finishes among the top five and 42 among the top 10.

With four cars, twice as many, Hendrick earned 13 wins, 40 top-five finishes and 74 among the top 10.

In seven of the 10 races that made up the Chase, a Penske car was ranked No. 1 in points. A Hendrick car was atop the standings only once.

The highest Hendrick finisher for the season was Gordon, in sixth.

All of this might be, to you, nitpicking.

But I don’t think there is any argument that when it came to the Chase – the time that mattered – Penske was clearly superior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keselowski Tightens Penske’s, And Ford’s, Grip On The Chase

With his victory in New Hampshire, Brad Keselowski won his third race of the season and assured himself, and Team Penske, of a spot in the Chase.

With his victory in New Hampshire, Brad Keselowski won his third race of the season and assured himself, and Team Penske, of a spot in the Chase.

A while back I made mention of the fact that while Hendrick Motorsports remains the most dominant team in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, it had a challenger – Team Penske.

That’s truer now than it was just a couple of weeks ago.

Penske’s Brad Keselowski strengthened his team’s cause with his dominating victory in the Camping World RV Sales 301. It was his third of the season.

And the night before he won the Nationwide Series race which means he swept the races at New Hampshire.

He moved into third place in the point standings, behind the Hendrick duo of leader Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Keselowski is 38 points out of first place.

But, really, for now points don’t matter. Keselowski’s third win assures him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Penske teammate Joey Logano pretty much has it made, too. While a crash forced him out of the race in New Hampshire and into 40th place, the two victories he has on the season are going to be more than enough to put him in the Chase.

Which means that both drivers for Penske will have a shot at the championship.

It can’t be said, yet, that all of Hendrick’s drivers will be in the 10-race “playoff.”

Oh, it’s certain that three of the four will make it. Jimmie Johnson, who finished 42nd at New Hampshire after a blown left tire led to a wreck, has three victories this season and is a shoo-in.

Keselowski won the Nationwide Series race the day before the Camping World RV Sales 301 Sprint Cup event, which gave him a sweep at New Hampshire.

Keselowski won the Nationwide Series race the day before the Camping World RV Sales 301 Sprint Cup event, which gave him a sweep at New Hampshire.

Earnhardt Jr. has two and Jeff Gordon one.

The only Hendrick man without a victory is Kasey Kahne. He is 17th in points and, most likely, if he doesn’t win over the next seven races – a tall order – he will be out of the Chase.

To be more specific here, Keselowski and Earnhardt Jr. are guaranteed Chase positions because they have multiple wins and are locked into the top 30 in points. It’s very likely others will get their guarantees very soon.

In fact, here’s how the Chas scenario looks, in order based on victories and point standings, after 19 of 26 races.

Keselowski, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Clint Bower, Paul Menard and Kyle Lawson. Kenseth, Newman, Bowyer, Menard and Larson have no wins but are good enough in points – for now – to be included.

Keselowski’s New Hampshire win, in which he led 138 of 301 laps, marked the fourth straight victory for Ford this season.

It started with Edwards at Sonoma, followed by Keselowski’s victory at Kentucky, Almirola’s at Daytona and Keselowski again.

The last time Ford won four races in a row was in 2001, with Dale Jarrett, who earned three wins at Darlington, Texas and Martinsville, and Elliott Sadler, the winner at Bristol.

“Ford wants us to win, and they want to give us what we need to win,” said team owner Roger Penske. “I’d have to say that you couldn’t ask for a better weekend. 

“I’ve already gotten many emails from the top people at Ford.  They’re watching it every day.  Their dealers are watching it and to me that makes the difference.

At the end of the day you can’t have a great car if you don’t have the best driver, and I can tell you that at New Hampshire there was nobody that could beat Brad.”

Keselowski was the 2012 champion but had a disappointing 2013 season in which he won only one race, finished 14th in points and failed to make it into the postseason.

Before that, Tony Stewart, the 2005 champion, was the last to miss the Chase the next year.

Well, for Keselowski, being out of the Chase isn’t going to happen this season – obviously.

“I think in a lot of ways we’re stronger than in 2012,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had this much speed before. 

“We had tremendous speed at New Hampshire and I think there’s potential left, like I said, with different things.  So that’s all very encouraging to me.  I feel like I’m in a really strong rhythm right now. 

“I think some of last year’s struggles put me in a spot to work harder and become a better race car driver and I think we’re combining all those things.

“We’re seeing the fruits of that labor with, like I said, more to come.”

Indeed, there could be more to come for Keselowski and Penske. But it is the same for Hendrick.

The only thing we’re pretty certain of, at the moment, is that the two teams will have five drivers in the Chase.

A Tale Of Three Drivers, And Their Fortunes, At Michigan

As it is with most NASCAR Sprint Cup races, there were many story lines in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

One of them involves three different drivers who experienced decidedly different fates. One had what he might call a perfect race – he won it, retained the top position in the Cup point standings and clinched a spot in the Chase, which begins three races from now.

For the other two it was anything but perfection. Had they known what was in store for them at the two-mile Michigan track when they woke up Sunday morning, they probably would have said to heck with it and gone back to sleep.

Truth of the matter is, for themselves, they would not have missed a whole lot.

Kyle Busch, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, won the Pure Michigan 400 to win at MIS for the first time in his career. It was his fourth victory of the season and tightened his hold on first place in the point standings.

Busch came into the race tied, at least in the number of points, with Carl Edwards. Each had 752 points but Busch held the tiebreaker with three wins to one for Edwards.

A tiebreaker is no longer needed. Busch is now 10 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, the five-time champion who moved into second place. Edwards tumbled to fourth place. More on that later.

Busch, who has the most victories this season, is assured a place in the Chase.

He has now won four races per Cup season in every year since 2008. He has 23 career victories on the circuit along with 49 in the Nationwide Series and 29 on the Craftsman Truck Series. That’s 101 wins on NASCAR’s top three national circuits.

“This victory is what we wanted,” said Busch, who held off Johnson and Brad Keselowski on a green-white-checkered restart created after Busch’s brother, Kurt, brought out the final caution when he smacked the wall with four laps to go.

“We wanted to make sure we could come out here and have the opportunity to go for broke. At the end, I thought about coming down pit road, and I’m like, ‘You know what, we might as well stay out and see if we can’t just can’t get it done and hold off the guys rather than come from behind.’

“We felt that was our best opportunity to win the race.”

And Busch made the most of it.

Back to Edwards, the subject of one of our tales of gloom.

As said, the Roush Fenway driver was atop the standings – a familiar position for him for a good portion of the season – before Michigan and was looking to move ahead of Busch.

Instead, his Ford suffered all manner of problems early in the race and he was never a factor. He finish 36th, completing just 174 of 200 laps.

“It was a very tough race,” Edwards said. “I thought we would have a Ford in victory lane. I thought one way or another we would win this thing.

“I don’t know what was wrong with it. It felt like it was running on seven cylinders. We changed a bunch of stuff and then it was fixed. It wasn’t something mechanical, it was probably something with some electrical connection or a coil or something.

“We were going all out to win this thing and we were prepared for something – but we weren’t expecting a failure like that.”

Edwards is now fourth in points but nonetheless is certain to make the Chase.

“It was a frustrating day,” he said. “But we’re in a very good points position. We’ll just absorb this bad day and take it from here.”

Danny Hamlin can’t really say that. He has to do a bit more than “take it from here.” At Michigan, he, too, had a tale of woe.

Busch’s teammate at Gibbs, Hamlin was a strong favorite to win at Michigan, or at least do well, given he had two wins and a runnerup finish in his last three MIS races, with five straight top-10s, and an average finish of 3.4.

He was 12th in the point standings with one victory, and, with Keselowski, was one of two leading candidates to make the Chase as a “wildcard” entry.

He still is. But he’s now 14th in points and has become more vulnerable to exclusion from the Chase.

Just 78 laps into the race, Hamlin hit the wall and was forced to pit. He fell to 31st and was one lap down.

A handful of laps later, Hamlin was back in the pits, the victim of a blown tire. Thereafter, his car did not perform well and he finished 35th.

It just seems like we’ve been very fortunate that the guys around us in points either haven’t won a race or on days we struggle they have a bad race,” Hamlin said. “Any other circumstances and we’d be in big trouble right now, but I’m still glad to be in our spot than anyone else’s at this point.

“We just need to figure out how to finish races and that carries on my shoulders as much as it carries on anyone’s.”

With his third-place finish, Keselowski moved past Hamlin to 12th in points. He also has two victories, which solidifies his standing as the leading “wildcard” candidate.

The only other drivers among the top 20 with wins are Paul Menard (18th) and David Ragan (who moved into 20th after finishing 12th at Michigan).

Menard is 18 points behind Hamlin, Ragan 34. Those differences might be hard for the drivers to overcome in three races, but another victory by either could supplant Hamlin.

Despite his lofty position, Busch is not about to admit he and his team will be the ones to watch in the Chase.

After all, at this point in 2008, Busch had already won eight times and was the favorite when the Chase began.

But he finished 28th or worse four times in the 10-race “playoff” and his championship hopes disappeared.

“We feel like we’ve been better prepared this year,” Busch said. “We’re a lot more consistent. Before, we’d have a bad race and not be able to rebound from it.

“But there’s no way we can be considered the ones to beat. There’s too much that can happen, way too many laps to run, way too many miles to run.

“We have built ourselves into contenders this year and it’s just being able to be consistent. We would love, of course, to carry on our strong runs through the final 10 races.

“It’s just a matter of being consistent.”

Edwards Contract: Changes Drivers Worth


Carl Edwards contract was unusual in the sense that the manufacturer, Ford, paid both cash and stock to Edwards in the combination deal to resign him. They did and now other drivers who perform are looking for a payday.

In 1985, Elliott Added His Own Touch To Talladega’s Colorful History

Talladega Superspeedway has a long and colorful history, littered with some of the most controversial, exciting and downright unusual races in NASCAR’s existence.

Which shouldn’t be considered unordinary. Given its 2.66-mile distance and high banking, which produce incredible speeds, and the tight racing created by the high-speed draft, anything can happen at Talladega. To be frank, it has.

Some of it – such as the high number of excruciatingly close finishes – has been positive. Some of it – such as massive accidents, cars flying into catchfences, over the wall, or worse, – has been negative.

But, good or bad, it’s all part of Talladega history, which makes it part of NASCAR lore.

I did say downright unusual races, didn’t I? Oh, Talladega has had plenty of those; races in which there arose circumstances not seen anywhere else and could hardly be believed.

One of them happened on May 5, 1985.

In the Winston 500 of that year, Bill Elliott did something that hadn’t been done at Talladega before nor has been achieved since.

He made up two lost laps without the benefit of a caution period. In other words, he lost over five miles to the rest of the field, recovered the distance by simply running it down lap after lap and then, remarkably, won the race.

It was an achievement so astonishing that, to this day, many do not believe it happened. They contend NASCAR fouled up somewhere – maybe in scoring or something like that. What Elliott did was impossible.

Me? I only know what I saw.

The 1985 season was the one that propelled Elliott into superstardom. He would win 11 superspeedway races and the first Winston Million bonus that year.

By the time the season’s first event at Talladega rolled around, Elliott had already won three big-track races, at Daytona, Atlanta and Darlington. He was the favorite to win the Winston 500.

He won the pole with a blistering speed of 209.398 mph utilizing an engine unfettered by a restrictor plate.

But after just 48 laps Elliott’s Melling Racing Ford started smoking badly. He began to lose power. He pitted and brother Ernie diagnosed and repaired a loose oil fitting.

It was a minor problem but it cost Elliott major distance. He returned to the race in 26th place. He was 2.03 seconds from being a full two laps down. To most observers, he’d lose that second lap quickly.

The race continued under green lap after lap – which was something unusual for Talladega, where wrecks, at times big ones, are common.

As each green-flag lap passed, Elliott faded from media consciousness – and for good reason. Without a caution period there was no way he stood a chance. No way would he regain his lost distance.

But one thing was forgotten. As long as the race continued under green-flag conditions one conclusion was simple: The fastest car, be that through horsepower, setup or a combination of both, would eventually lead.

Nine drivers did, indeed, lead after Elliott pitted. But his Ford was clocked consistently at a speed of 205 mph, faster than the others.

In time, somebody in the press box said aloud, “I think Bill just made up one lap. Ain’t too sure, but he might be on the lead lap now, a long way back.”

I yawned. So what, I thought. Elliott still needed a caution flag. If he got one, then he would be up front on the restart, on the tail end of the lead lap. He’d have a chance then.

But as time passed, the media began to notice Elliott. He was passing everyone, moving steadily through the field. His Ford clearly had dominant horsepower.

On lap 145, just 39 laps from the end of the race, Elliott passed Cale Yarborough to take the lead. The race had yet to experience its first caution period.

Fans were awestruck.

Those of us in the press box began to debate how Elliott could possibly have done what he did. There was only one answer: He ran everyone down because of the raw power his Ford possessed.

Elliott won the race by 1.72 seconds over Kyle Petty, then driving for the Wood Brothers.

When Elliott came to the press box, naturally he was inundated with questions, nearly off which asked him how he could make up a lost five miles in a race that had only two caution periods for eight laps.

“It’s a real credit to Ernie and all the guys in the crew,” said Elliott, who clearly followed the party line.

Elliott’s performance at Talladega only fueled the argument that he, and brother Ernie, had concocted a means by which their Ford’s engines were so much more powerful than others that they had created a great, and unfair, advantage.

Talladega would certainly not be the last race in which Elliott’s competitive superiority would be called into question.

But it would be, however it was done, the only Talladega race – or any other in NASCAR, for that matter – in which a driver made up so much lost distance solely on his own.

 

I Didn’t Get My Sponsor, But NASCAR Got A New Era

Although he didn’t intend it, when Junior met with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to see if it would be interested in sponsoring his NASCAR efforts, he helped usher in what would be a new era for stock car racing.

At the time, four decades ago, Junior’s racing was at a standstill because Ford had pulled out of NASCAR – again – and thus all his manufacturer support was lost.

He couldn’t race without a sponsor. So he targeted Reynolds. Of course, he had no idea how things would ultimately evolve.

 

Junior’s contributions to www.motorsportsunplugged.com will appear every other Friday throughout the season.

 

 

I get the credit for bringing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to NASCAR, which led to the creation of the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit that lasted from 1971 through 2003.

I’ll take it. But I can assure you that when I met with R.J. Reynolds, early in 1971, it wasn’t to extend the company an invitation to join NASCAR.

I was there for myself; for my business interests. At the time I was a NASCAR team owner without a team.

Let me give you some background. Back in 1966 Ford pulled out of NASCAR because it felt the rules were against it.

John Holman had a Ford team. He was stuck, just as the other Ford team owners. He asked me to build a car for Fred Lorenzen to race at Atlanta. He wanted a car that could compete with the Chrysler products, which seemed to benefit most from the rules at that time.

Bill France wanted to know what it would take to get Ford back into racing and I told him to let me build that Ford, race it in Atlanta and, well, he could take it from there.

When that car showed up at Atlanta it raised a ruckus. As I remember, the front end sloped downward, the roof was cut very low and the rear end was raised. Let’s just say it didn’t look anything like a Ford out of Detroit.

Because it was painted yellow – the primary color of Holly Farms, my sponsor – the car was called “The Banana.”

That car had a heckuva time getting through inspection. We had to take it to body shops all over Atlanta to make changes.

We ran the race. I recall, though, that we didn’t finish because a tire blew and Fred crashed.

But the point was made. Sure enough, France gave enough concessions to Ford that it got back into NASCAR.

The next three years with Ford were good ones for me – especially the 1969 season withHolly Farms I look forward to telling you that story.

But by 1970, Ford pulled out of NASCAR again. I did have support from an IndyCar guy who made parts for engine companies. He was around for two years.

But he decided to go back to IndyCar racing and so I didn’t have anything. I built a few cars and engines in my shop for other guys.

You might remember that in 1970, the tobacco companies were under fire from the government, which wanted to ban cigarette advertising on television – and it did.

When I learned that, I wanted to get a meeting with R.J. Reynolds – located in Winston-Salem, N.C., just a short drive from Ronda – as quick as I could.

I needed a sponsor and I knew that, since it could not advertise on TV, Reynolds would have plenty of money.

I started talking with Reynolds late in 1970 and got a meeting in 1971. I presented my thing and, to my surprise, they sort of laughed at me when I told them how much money I needed.

I had asked for $850,000. Were they giggling at me because that was too much? Nope, it was just the opposite. They told me they had a $570 million advertising budget.

I admit I was a bit taken aback. It occurred to me that NASCAR was struggling somewhat at the time and I just told the Reynolds officials, “You need to be with NASCAR because it is bigger than me.”

I had no idea what would happen. R.J. Reynolds, with NASCAR, created the Winston Cup Series, a point fund, a new schedule and a lot more.

It ushered NASCAR into a new era.

Me? I didn’t get that $850,000.

NASCAR would not allow any team to have the same sponsor it had. It would create a conflict of interest.

I was tore up. I needed the money more than NASCAR did.

NASCAR even told me that, although I had helped it get the Reynolds deal, it could not cater to me when it came to competition.

Thinking back, it kind of hurt me a little bit that a lot of people thought I got favors out of NASCAR because of the Reynolds deal. That was never the case.

So, for a while, I was right back where I started.

But then I got a phone call from a man named Richard Howard, who was the promoter at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He thought that, if he could put a competitive Chevrolet in the World 600, people starving to see the most popular car in America race would come to his track in droves.

He asked me if I would build one. I agreed.

What happened after that is another story.

 

2011 Camaro SS Convertible, Chicago Show Bound

The new 2011 Chevy Camaro SS convertible is bound for the Chicago Auto Show. The car isn’t a mystery, it’s really the 2012 car but it has one flaw: It’s interior is plastic and cheap looking. Can’t American automakers design and execute real innovation inside the car? http://www.thedrivechannel.com

The Corvette ZR1: A Screaming Bargain

The Corvette ZR1 is Chevrolets ultimate evolution of Harley Earl’s original 1950’s design. This Carbon Fiber street fighter takes on the world’s biggest names like Ferrari and Porsche. Michele Rahal of The Drive Channel and www.thedrivechannel.com takes you on a tour.
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