News & Media

Camaro to race in Nationwide in 2013

July 26, 2012, Mark Aumann,

INDIANAPOLIS -- Helton, drivers among those excited to see Chevy bring new nameplate to series

If you've been wondering why it took Chevrolet so long to decide to race the Camaro nameplate in the Nationwide Series, don't worry. You're not alone, according to Pat Suhy, manager of Chevy Racing's oval track group.

There were a number of folks within the General Motors building who had the same queries. Plus, you can add NASCAR's president to the list.

"To have the Camaro now in the Nationwide Series, against the other pony cars, is kind of fun for an old guy."


"I'm like our fans -- I'm a bit of a car guy -- so this is an exciting moment for us," Mike Helton said Thursday. "To have the Camaro now in the Nationwide Series, against the other pony cars, is kind of fun for an old guy."

With the reintroduction of the nameplate in 2009, which led to Chevrolet leading the market segment for sports cars in sales for the next two model years, higher-ups decided it was time to switch from the Impala to Camaro for the 2013 racing season.

"There's been pressure from a lot of places," Suhy said. "Clearly, it shows how enthusiastic people are about the Camaro to begin with, which is a good thing. If they said, 'We don't care what you race,' that would be a bad sign.

"We had a lot of debate when we didn't do it the first time. And it wasn't an easy decision to make. But I think bringing it out now has us very excited. I hope the race fans are excited."

It certainly got the attention of people inside the NASCAR garage, as close to a dozen current Nationwide drivers -- from Danica Patrick to Austin Dillon -- showed up for Thursday's media announcement in the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to witness the car's unveiling.

Suhy said the drivers have shown a tremendous amount of interest in the 2013 design and how the Camaro will do against the competition.

"If you're sitting in an Impala, racing a Mustang and a Challenger, it's like 'Well, it'd be cool if we had a Camaro,' " Suhy said. "So here it is."

There's one catch: The car on display during the media conference hasn't been on the track. The car is a result of computer-aided design and scale models have been put in the wind tunnel, but still needs some road testing before it makes its debut at Daytona in 2013.

Suhy said teams are currently building cars to begin that process.

"We're cranking out parts basically to make them available to the teams," Suhy said. "And as they have the ability to put a car together and get ready to go to the track, we're obviously here to support that. I think you'll probably see them start to pop up maybe late August, early September at the places where they go test."

According to the results of the wind tunnel tests, Suhy said teams should be much happier with the aerodynamics of the new car. But there won't be any major design changes made from here on out because of the NASCAR rule book.

"Once we submitted the parts to NASCAR, we can't change anything," Suhy said. "It's up to the teams to go develop their chassis and aero packages. Obviously, there's some latitude on how they can hang the bodies on the cars, so they can help generate the kind of aero balance that their drivers like.

"Hopefully, a lot of what they learned with the Impala applies to this. But they're going to have to go out and find out if all [the changes] have the same impact."