Tag: nascar

By on July 12, 2018

While the returning Toyota Supra should be big news, the endless parade of teasers without any real information has left everyone feeling burned out. We previously announced that the vehicle would debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. But Toyota later clarified that the car we would see wouldn’t be the production version and remain camouflaged, resulting in rage-induced nose bleeds at automotive-media outlets across the globe.

Our expectations couldn’t be lower but we still had to check and see if any new information could be gleaned from the event. We definitely got a better look at it but technical specifications remained elusive. We did learn a thing or two, though. (Read More…)

By on July 9, 2018

It’s understandable that an automaker would want to prolong the unveiling of a hotly anticipated model. After all, building suspense is essential when marketing a vehicle that’s exciting but lacks broad appeal. This is why Dodge was so fastidious in its debut of the Hellcat and Demon, parsing out just enough information to keep us fed without ever letting us get full.

By contrast, Toyota’s preliminary marketing of the Supra started with as few details as possible and has continued starving us of all meaningful information. That’s partly because the vehicle is a sister car to the new BMW Z4 — and sharing details of one model means giving away the goods on the other. Despite this, Magna Steyr (tasked with manufacturing both vehicles) isn’t building two identical models with different badges. The Supra’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, describes the Supra as a pure sports car where practicality and comfort are almost not considered.

That sounds very exciting, so it was a relief when we learned the car will finally see daylight at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week. Unfortunately, Toyota clarified on Monday that the vehicle we’ll see wouldn’t be a production vehicle and will remain wrapped in red camouflage.  (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2018

Toyota made it clear it wants the returning Supra to have presence in motorsport when it unveiled the GR Racing Concept in March of this year. However, based on its looks, we assumed the model was destined for the grand touring circuits.

While that still may be the case, Toyota recently announced that the Supra will make its way to NASCAR in 2019. If you’re worried about the Camry, don’t be. The sedan will continue running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series while the Supra handles the Xfinity Series.

Even though the NASCAR Supra is representative of the production model, the two won’t share many parts. All stock cars are required to run naturally aspirated, pushrod V8 engines — which the production model certainly won’t have. But it shows Toyota is serious about the returning Supra making a splash in the U.S.

The automaker no doubt hopes the vintage maxim “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” still rings true.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2018

1992 Pontiac LeMans sedan decklid emblem in California junkyard, © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars

Whether it’s a job, car, or food, trying something new often takes a dose of courage. It’s that reason why I always sit up and take notice when a racer steps out of the machine in which they normally compete and turn a wheel in a different environment.

Fernando Alonso did just that this weekend with Toyota at LeMans. The Spaniard appeared in the LMP1 class, part of a team that took the overall win. Not shabby at all.

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2018

Mustang goes to NASCAR Cup

In the halcyon days of NASCAR, men drove coupified versions of machines one could actually buy on the showroom floor: rear-drive Thunderbirds, Grand Prix coupes, and Monte Carlos simultaneously plied both racetracks and dealer lots as recently as the 1980s. Race fans know what happened by 1989, of course, when GM slapped the names of mid-size front-drivers on their V8 NASCAR racers, with Ford following suit within the next 10 years.

Last year, GM made an infinitely logical move, bringing its Camaro nameplate to to the top-tier Winston Nextel Sprint Monster Energy Cup Series. Ford’s now mercifully following suit, binning the Fusion and putting a Mustang in the hands of those who choose to run the Blue Oval.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerThere’s a bit of a history with Rare Rides entries featuring Pontiac models. First was the awesome all-wheel drive 6000, with a Pepsi Edition Grand Prix following on its heels just three days afterward. Now, three months have elapsed since we last saw a Pontiac on these pages — far too long!

Bend the knee, for the Richard Petty Pontiac Grand Prix SE has arrived.

(Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

2000 Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon

Our last couple of Rare Rides have been special limited edition vehicles. Last week we saw a GMC Spectre which, upon viewing, my friend declared, “That interior looks like an old Taco Bell!” Prior to that, a Nissan Desert Runner made all your Zima-beach-toting dreams come true, even with its sketchy and unclear history.

But today’s limited edition is more rare and more ugly than either of those two prior examples. It’s also newer, which makes its styling all the more egregious and offensive. By the year 2000, we were supposed to be beyond such gaudy nonsense. But the Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Series Commemorative Edition is as ridiculous as its name is long.

(Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

A touching moment of solidarity crowned the inaugural series event. During the second race’s podium, the winner and Nissan GT Academy driver decided to offer his two Nissan Canada cheques of 1,500 worth of parts to new driver Mario Berthiaume, who was unable to start the race after seriously damaging his car in a practice session accident. Image: Nissan Canada

There’s an old saying, coined by NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, that suggests the quickest way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a big one. While my yard is notably devoid of multi-million dollar race haulers, I can certainly understand the seeds of truth in this cautionary tale: when the powers-that-be decide to change the rules in a particular series, it causes all hands to reach for their checkbooks.

There have been plenty of rule changes in motorsport over the years. Formula 1 changes its downforce packages more often than my wife’s teenage sister changes her Snapchat filters, for example. F1 is also known for decreeing the use of new engines, ranging over the years from turbo V6s to honkin’ V10s to small-displacement V12s, not to mention the bizarre powertrain configurations that appeared in the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of adaptation beggars belief.

Stock car racing isn’t immune to this trend, either.

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2016

Cadillac DPi-V.R race car

Automotive athletes tend to age a little better other sports figures. While Formula 1 drivers tend to be a little younger, the average NASCAR driver is in their late thirties. That means racing retirement can be delayed well-past the comparative norm for an Olympic boxer or linebacker in the NFL.

However, every sport seems to share the common theme of athletes’ complete inability to remain retired after making a public announcement that they were packing it in.  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

NASCAR (public domain)

The old NASCAR adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” still temps modern automakers, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t immune to its spell.

After pulling out of stock car racing in 2012 to get its financial house in order, FCA now wants to see the Dodge brand back on the track. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2016

NASCAR (James Marvin Phelps/Flickr)

R.I.P. victory lap burnouts? It sure looks that way.

NASCAR seems to have reached a tipping point in its tolerance of post-race victory burnouts, some of which damage the vehicle enough to interfere with the post-race inspection process. After an incident last weekend, the organization says it might have to lay down rules, Autoblog reports. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Passat (1 of 14)

Volkswagen shareholders are wondering if they’ll be receiving a lump of coal in their dividend stocking this year.

That, Sergio is seeking a partner (but not those French guys), NASCAR’s Derek White is in trouble north of the border, GM seals the deal with a startup, and no Baby Buick for you … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on March 11, 2016

Subaru BRZ STI Performance Concept

Subaru, worried that it might be losing its coolness, could be planning to rebel against its new-found mainstream image.

That, Big Battery picks up steam, Tesla’s stock turbulence continues to amaze, NASCAR wants Millennials to watch a race, and Porsche thanks its lucky stars for SUVs … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015

Ed Carpenter apexes Turn 3 during the 2015 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway

On Sunday, I watched a fantastic car race. Unfortunately, based on the shots of the crowd, I might have been among very few who did.

The INDYCAR (are we still capitalizing it?) Pocono 500 had everything a race fan could want: upwards of thirty lead changes, some spectacularly competitive and aggressive racing (including one restart where the drivers went seven wide), and a tight points race where the season championship would be greatly affected by the outcome. Unfortunately, there was also a spectacular crash that has one racer battling for his life.

Meanwhile, the race had far fewer fans in attendance than the 30,000 that Indy officials said that they would need in order for Pocono to be on the race schedule in 2016.

(Read More…)

By on July 6, 2015

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 28:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 28, 2015 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.

Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?

(Read More…)

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