This season, NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Chevrolet-based teams — including Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing switched bodies from the Chevrolet SS to the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Chevy teams hoped it would positively affect their performance and aerodynamics, but it’s taken the teams most of the season to get ahold of the new car body.
Next season, Ford announced they will move from the Ford Fusion body to the Ford Mustang. Will the Ford Mustang be as big of a struggle for Ford-based teams next year, as the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has been for Chevrolet teams in 2018?
Toyota’s Transition Time in 2017
It’s not just the two domestic car manufacturers who have changed the bodies. While Toyota has yet to actually switch car bodies from one make to another, it did a pretty big overhaul of the Toyota body last year. It was three months or so until the four-car team of Joe Gibbs Racing and its then two-car satellite partnership with Furniture Row Racing to get everything out of the new style.
Toyota also recently announced they’ll be doing their own transition to a new car make in the Xfinity Series — the Toyota Supra. They may be experience deja vu, trying to get all the speed out that car in 2019.
Body Was Only Part of Transition for Chevy This Year
“You have the weekend execution, you have the driver piece, the pit-crew piece,” Keselowski said.
“All those things have to come together. … I don’t think in those two scenarios it was the car that held them back, and I don’t think it will for us, either.”
Pockrass said the changes in the NASCAR inspection process and equipment also have made 2108’s transition to the Camaro tougher. Prior to the 2018 season NASCAR transitioned from template-based inspection to a projector-and-camera scanning system that left the Chevrolet teams with less wiggle room and lower tolerances for gray areas,
Stewart-Haas Racing Experience
SHR may have a bit of leg up. It was just last year that the four-car team of SHR switched from Chevrolet to Ford in shirt order, and without skipping much more than a beat. That experience in shifting manufacturers recently, may put the now Ford-based team more prepared to deal with the new body, than some of the other Ford teams. If any Ford teams take a step backward because of the Ford body transition, expect SHR to stumble the least.