Chargers to star in NASCAR

http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0407/18/c01-215232.htm
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Chargers to star in NASCAR Revamped Dodge recalls its storied past; racing debut could create
buzz for sedan By Brett Clanton / The Detroit News
A reborn version of Chrysler's legendary Dodge Charger muscle car could be screaming around the high-walled turns of the Daytona 500 in February - at least one month before a street-ready Charger sedan lands in dealer showrooms.
DaimlerChrysler AG's Dodge division has submitted a new car design to NASCAR for the 2005 Nextel Cup racing season, and is expected to name it Charger.
Doing so would recall a storied past in motor sports for the Charger, which was banned from NASCAR racing in 1965 for using an unorthodox V-8 engine design known as the "Hemi" only later to became a NASCAR racing champion.
The racing debut could also create buzz for the mass-market Charger sedan that will be launched in the spring of 2005 and is another key vehicle for the Chrysler Group, which is struggling to return to profitability.
NASCAR racing is the nation's second-biggest TV spectator sport, trailing only the National Football League, and has become an advertising gold mine for Detroit automakers, who rule the sport.
"Research shows that 52 percent of Ford customers call themselves race fans," said Kevin Kennedy, a Ford racing spokesman. "We'd be crazy not to market to these people."
That's part of the reason why Dodge has taken its time in developing a new race car for NASCAR.
Mike Zizzo, a NASCAR spokesman, said the racing association and Dodge have been in talks about a new design since the spring of 2003. He said NASCAR will give Dodge final approval on the design by Sept. 1, assuming it passes a variety of safety and performance tests. That would make it ready to race in February's Daytona 500, the official kickoff of NASCAR's racing season.
"The (review) process is in the final stages, and it's moving along quite well," Zizzo said.
Dodge has raced the Intrepid sedan in NASCAR's flagship circuit since 2001, but according to NASCAR rules, could not run the car in 2005 because the car is no longer in production. The Intrepid was replaced in May by the new Dodge Magnum station wagon.
The full-size Charger, which will be sold as a four-door sedan, is a closer match to the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo - the only three other vehicles competing in NASCAR's top-tier Nextel Cup next year.
Though the Ford Taurus is expected to be phased out in the next four years, Kennedy said "as long as Taurus is around, it will be our car."
Pat Suhy, GM's engineering group manager, said the Monte Carlo would not change for the 2005 racing season.
Dodge's new design comes as NASCAR is pushing DaimlerChrysler, GM and Ford to build race cars that look more like the production cars they sell to the public. The move represents a return to a founding tenant of the 50-year-old sport.
But with NASCAR imposing more safety requirements - such as roll bars and bulky steel-caged cockpits - "they've really taken away the manufacturer's ability to build race cars that look like street cars," Suhy said.
Manufacturers are left to distinguish their cars mainly with front and back end panels, he said.
Dodge returned to NASCAR racing in 2001 after a 20-year hiatus. Since then, the brand has won 22 races and has recruited high-profile drivers such as Rusty Wallace, Casey Kahne, Kyle Petty and Bill Elliot.
The 2005 Dodge Charger will be built at Chrysler's Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant. The rear-wheel-drive sedan will share the same underpinnings as the new Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon.
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I refuse to take NASCAR seriously when the street cars are all FWD with transverse four cylinder engines and the ""stock"" car has a front V8 mounted fore and aft and driving the rear wheels. SCCA Showroom Stock is more honest, and actually better racing action.
I think the federales should make NASCAR change their name to NAMCAR, for 'modified' car.
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<< I refuse to take NASCAR seriously when the street cars are all FWD with transverse four cylinder engines and the ""stock"" car has a front V8 mounted fore and aft and driving the rear wheels >> ____Reply Separator_____ Or the "Stock" Ford Taurus is a two-door coupe!
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I really thought when GM stopped making rear drive V-8 cars, they should have been forced to race what they manufactured. But, nobody cares what I think, and NASCAR thinks the sport is better served by parity, deserved or not. But it has certainly reached an embarrassing level of non-stock-car-ness.

mounted
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Ted Azito wrote:

I don't understand the visceral urge to bitch about NASCAR or any other racing series that doesn't catch your fancy. Formula 1 isn't anymore "honest." IRL isn't anymore "honest." CART isn't anymore "honest." All of them are just spec series where all the cars have to comform to a given set of rules. I happen to LIKE it when the rules call for a 5.7 liter naturally-aspirated v8. True, NASCAR hasn't been "stock" since 1973, but then there hasn't been a race-worthy "stock" sedan built since the Buick Grand National was cancelled anyway. Racing front-drive v6 cars would be about as exciting as watching ice melt.
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lets see, isn't it about the driver/team given a platform to conform/race with, in any racing series? oh and if you want excitement, just go find the local street racing scene and watch kids DIE on any given weekend as happened to a girl in the dallas/ft.worth metroplex a couple of days ago 2 days before her sweet sixteenth b'day!?! our greatgrandparents did it and our greatgrandkids will been doing this unless the consequences become greater than thrill of the game."honesty" is in the eye of the OBSERVER. there are varying degrees of pushing the envelope in the various racing series or as paul tracy put it nascar is to WWF as cart is to proffessional tennis since there is more cheating in nascar. the problem i have with the monopoly we call NASCAR NATION{the france family} is that this generation is all about the bizness and nothing about the me and you the FANS WHO MADE THE SPORT WHAT IT IS TODAY. i was a fan of dale sr. who was the fans advocate for the sport, and who i bet would be kickin' his sons tail all the way to suzuka and leavin' his carcass in the land of the risin' sun to be a corparate hack for the likes of toyota, pioneer, and the like. trust me, when brian france can export nascar world wide which he will if given the oppty. then you'll see the end of all other international racing series save off-road because it all goes back to the bizness and screw the fans as long as the RATINGS STAY UP OR GROW!!!!!!!!!! don't understand why i bitch about nascar nation? then you obviously don't remember why the snowball derby or any other final season LOCAL race was so important to the local nascar fans.i didn't mean for this to become a rant about a sports monopoly{see the ferko suit against NASCAR;{, BUT UNTIL WE GET THE LAWYERS INVOLVED TO BREAK IT LIKE CONGRESS DID TO mlb WE'LL HAVE TO ACCEPT WHAT'S FED TO US THE FANS not the stockholders.
dw, aka jaws is probably the smartest team owner in the sport today and he breaks the mold of the sterotypical new car lot owner who saves mony or strokes his ego by hawking his own bizness. because he's good at it and sees the writing on the wall for the international nascar nation fan. nobody likes change but he embraces it and knows how to prosper within the system.
a loud enough, or irritating enough voice will get results if you are persistant enough and start costing too many fat cat's too much money cause it all goes back to the bizness of NASCAR NATION. YESSIR MR. FRANCE I SHORE HOPE YOU IS READIN THIS BECAUSE THIS IS OUR SPORT NOT yours;}
that's my story and i'm stickin' to it
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There are other kinds of motorsport, even circle track racing, besides NASCAR. NASCAR is one kind and a relatively obscure one until a few years ago outside the Peckerwood Perimeter. I just don't pay attention to stock car racing.
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