Monday, October 21, 2013

Chevrolet Playing Hardball

A new No. 3 should join Chevrolet ranks in 2014
Forget hot dogs, baseball or apple pie.

Chevrolet is playing hardball.

We saw it at Charlotte, with Chevys qualifying in eight of the top 10 spots.  Four of the top six were the Hendrick cars.  Only a fluke caution kept Jimmie Johnson and the bowtie brigade out of Victory Circle.

At Talladega, Chevys were running 1-2-3 down the backstretch on the last lap and finished one-two.  No fluke this time.  With just four races left in the Chase, Chevrolet is showing its muscle.  Johnson took the driver’s championship lead and Chevrolet extended its margin as manufacturer’s champion.  Chevy has won the NASCAR manufacturers championship 36 times and now seems well on its way to 37.  Even if Matt Kenseth recovers to win the driver championship, it is unlikely Toyota will be able to catch Chevy.

Chevrolet already has its sights set on next year.   Stewart-Haas doesn’t add a fourth team, no matter how deep the pockets of Gene Haas, without an okay from the General.  And Germain Racing doesn’t make the move from Ford to Chevy and Earnhardt Childress Racing engines without the same nod.  JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 appears headed from Toyota to ECR.  And now it appears Jeff Burton will join Tommy Baldwin Racing, making it a two-car Chevy entry.  Meanwhile, there appears to be no teams ready to move to Ford and Toyota.  And of course Michael Waltrip Racing is down to two cars.

It goes beyond NASCAR.  Despite winning a driver’s championship for Scott Dixon, Ganassi Racing will be flying the Chevrolet colors next year in IndyCar, trading in the Honda engines it used this year.  And don't be surprised if Ganassi is running a Chevy a in the new road racing series, dropping BMW.

It's been an impressive couple of months for Chevrolet.  The Division's latest advertising theme is Find New Roads.  Maybe they should consider switching to Find New Teams.

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