In 2009, NASCAR amended rules for its Nationwide Series, and encouraged the domestic automakers active in the series – namely Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge – to consider styling their new race machines along the lines of their muscle cars.
Three years later, that idea has finally come to complete fruition. Ford was the first to embrace the idea, branding and styling its Nationwide car after the Mustang for the 2010 season. Dodge hopped on the retro-racer bandwagon shortly after with its Challenger-nosed Nationwide car. The trilogy wasn’t completed until today, when Chevrolet announced its 2013 Nationwide car would be styled like – of all things! – the Camaro SS.
When NASCAR first birthed the idea, we mused it would be much like the old Trans-Am series, which saw Challengers (and AAR ‘Cudas) battle Mustangs and Camaros. In reality, it’s not exactly the same thing. Apart from a V-8 engine and rear-wheel-drive configuration, these nifty Nationwide NASCARs are hardly stock cars, or even based upon a stock vehicle (as was the case in Trans-Am). In fact, automakers have the most autonomy over shaping their car’s front clip – the remainder of the car more or less abides by NASCAR’s generic standardized template.
Still, we think the end result is kind of cool. Both Dodge and Chevy managed to sculpt and shape their noses to closely emulate their road-going muscle cars, and the end result still looks reasonably convincing. (Ford’s Mustang clip is mostly decal-based, which is odd considering its forthcoming Fusion Sprint Cup racer is sculpted to echo the road car).
So what say you: what’s your favorite of the three Nationwide muscle cars? The Ford Mustang? The Chevrolet Camaro? The Dodge Challenger? You tell us. Click below to vote for your favorite design in our informal poll.