HAMPTON, Ga. -- Dodge may follow the example Chevrolet announced on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, racing two different car models in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series, officials with DaimlerChrysler and NASCAR said on Saturday.
Reed Sorenson Credit: Autostock
REED IT AND WEEP
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Chevrolet announced it would race the Impala SS in the 16 races next season designated for the Car of Tomorrow, while maintaining the current Monte Carlo SS in the other 20 points races.
Chevrolet ultimately plans to use only the Impala by 2009, when the COT will be deployed for the full season.
Mike Accavitti, director, Dodge Motorsports said DaimlerChrysler was contemplating doing a similar program, using the Charger for the "standard" races. He declined to confirm the Avenger as the proposed COT.
"Looking at what Chevy announced yesterday, from a marketing guy's perspective, it's a very good idea on how to leverage the sport," Accavitti said on Saturday. "But that's all I'm going to talk about."
Accavitti said Dodge had made inquiries within the proper timeframe to be able to compete with an alternate COT model.
"If we decide to go that way, NASCAR's going to have to approve it, and the timeline on that is really between us and NASCAR," Accavitti said. "As I said, I looked at what Chevy did and it's a very good idea on how you leverage NASCAR into that mainstream to mean more to those consumers.
"So that's probably a very good idea to take [that path]."
Nextel Cup Series director John Darby confirmed Dodge's plan, but also declined to cite a specific model.
"Yes they do have time, and they have met the criteria for submitting a possible Car of Tomorrow that would be an alternate to the Charger," Darby said. "In fairness to Dodge, I won't name [model] names, but we're aware of the possibility of a change and all the rest of that.
"The 2007 Charger has been submitted and approved for use as a current, standard car, and we have been put on notice and have looked at some things with Dodge with the possibility that, depending on their marketing platforms and production schedules, that a new model could be involved in the Car of Tomorrow.
"Nobody at NASCAR wants to rain on their parade, so we'll let Dodge make that announcement."
A Ford Racing representative said that manufacturer had no plans to deviate from using the Fusion as both the standard car and the COT.
Lee White, senior vice president/general manager of Toyota Racing Development, said that while at one point early in the game Toyota had thought about using a different model in the Busch Series, there was never any plan to use anything but the Camry across the board in Nextel Cup.
"It potentially might have been the Solara," White said of the proposed Busch car. "But with the time constraints being what they are, we never even progressed beyond some discussion at the company level, of doing that.
"Frankly, at this point it's just simpler and easier to be like everyone else and to run the Camry in Busch and in Cup.
"There's no intention or even thought, in my mind, being given by anyone in the company to splitting the Car of Tomorrow off and running anything but the Camry."