Winners: 2011 NASCAR Champions

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Tony Stewart

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Sprint Cup Car Unveiled ... Sort Of

When NASCAR introduced the current-generation race car in 2007 -- then dubbed the Car of Tomorrow -- the sanctioning body was adamant that no changes would be forthcoming, even as fan complaints regarding aesthetics and competition increased.

Then NASCAR removed the rear wing this past March and replaced it with a spoiler. The aesthetic improvement was immediate, and though I haven't noticed much difference in competition, some have made the argument that getting rid of the wing has produced better racing.

More changes are coming in 2011, but they're not as radical as one might fear. In fact, the changes have already been previewed in the Nationwide Series, which ran the new-generation car in a few races earlier this year (and will do so one more time next Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway). The new Nationwide Series car has a front splitter, but it's more rounded and does not have the braces featured on the current Sprint Cup Series car and the trucks in the Camping World Truck Series.

Well, if you saunter on over to Jayski and visit the page for 2011 Sprint Cup Series paint schemes, you'll notice that the front ends look ... different. More rounded, no splitter braces. Reports earlier this season indicated NASCAR is looking to bring manufacturer identity back to the series, perhaps by 2012 or 2013.

Some would extrapolate that means NASCAR wants pony cars in the Sprint Cup Series by that time. With the new Nationwide Series cars, which will be run full-time next season, Ford has brought the Mustang into NASCAR, while Dodge has received rave reviews for its Challenger.

So think about that. Pony cars in the Sprint Cup Series? Possibly.

In the meantime, enjoy this image of what Jimmie Johnson's car could look like next season.

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