March 2, 2012 3:08 PM
Street cars often emulate race cars. That’s been going on for
years. But a race car resembling a street car? Not nearly as
common. However, that’s one of the features race driver Sam
Hornish, Jr. finds attractive in the 2013 NASCAR Dodge Charger that
will be unveiled at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend.
“The car looks the best out of any of the new cars,
that’s for sure,” said Hornish. “Nice, sharp
lines -- and you can see a lot of the street car in the race car.
It brings the Charger’s identity back onto the
Reaching this ambitious level did not come overnight.
In 2010, NASCAR held a summit with representatives of all four
competing brands. The central issue was returning brand identity to
the cars on the track. In the 2011 Nationwide Series, Dodge debuted
the Challenger, which looked very much like its road-going
The response has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“The fans were like, ‘Hallelujah!’” said
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Street & Racing Technology
(SRT) Brand, which includes motorsports. “‘Finally, the
race cars look a lot like the cars I can buy and
Excitement over the new design is not limited to fans and potential
Dodge Challenger and Charger owners. The man who heads the design
team for motorsports as well as SRT, Mark Trostle, says he now
finds his interest in NASCAR racing rejuvenated.
“When I worked on the Challenger program, all of a sudden I
became a huge NASCAR fan,” Trostle said. “I started
watching because I could turn on the TV and say, “Hey,
there’s the Challenger!’ I knew right away what it was
without having to memorize the car numbers. I feel like we’re
helping change the feel of the sport and putting design and brand
identity back into NASCAR. I think we’ve taken all the
ingredients, and we’ve done a pretty awesome job with
The 2013 NASCAR Dodge Charger’s public debut comes March 11,
just before the green flag falls on the Kobalt
Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.