Is Chevy Quitting NASCAR After the 2024 Season?
Wow. Joey Logano snapped Chevy’s four-race winning streak on Sunday, and the manufacturer announced on Wednesday that it’s killing off the Camaro. Talk about a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to NASCAR.
Obviously, we jest regarding the reason. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson have won Cup Series championships in the Camaro ZL1 in recent years, and any of a half-dozen drivers might just do it again this fall. So, there’s nothing wrong with the car on a competitive level.
However, General Motors is serious about mothballing a signature model that it brought to NASCAR’s top series in 2018. The good news is there is little question that GM will come back with a suitable racing replacement.
Camaro’s end date in NASCAR is not yet clear
GM’s announcement that the last of its Camaros will roll off its Lansing, Michigan, assembly line next January means Chevy teams in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series will eventually need to cut over to a new model. In the short term, however, the manufacturer will continue to produce replacement parts for its consumer line of sixth-generation Camaros, which debuted in 2016.
The Associated Press reported a spokesman said GM has an understanding with sanctioning bodies that the sixth-generation Camaro can continue racing under those circumstances. But a change for 2025 is inevitable. One of the principal reasons automakers enter racing series is to showcase brands it wants to sell in dealer showrooms. That means GM likely already knows what its next NASCAR entry will be.
Chevy has a long history in the NASCAR Cup Series
General Motors has been present in NASCAR from the start, beginning with Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles showing up to race in 1949. In the decades since, the Buick, Pontiac, and Chevy divisions have also manufactured brands appearing on the ovals on weekends.
Red Byron and Bill Rexford captured the first two Cup Series championships in Oldsmobiles. Buck Baker in 1957 was the first driver to win the championship exclusively in a Chevy, when the Bel Air served as the primary racing line.
Camaro made its Xfinity Series debut in 2013. Five seasons later, the Camaro ZL1 replaced the SS as Chevy’s 10th entry in the Cup Series. Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain drove that model in the 2023 Championship 4.
Before the SS and the Camaro, Chevy fielded eight other models in the Cup Series, beginning with the Bel Air (1955-58), Chevelle/Malibu (1964-82), and Monte Carlo (1971-88).
Austin Dillon rolled out the Camaro in style
Chevrolet introduced the Camaro to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, and Austin Dillon promptly won the Daytona 500 in the first outing. There would be just three more victories that season, all by Chase Elliott. That made for a substantial drop from 10 wins in 2017 in the final season of the Chevy SS.
In 2020, however, Elliott won five times on his way to the title. A year later, Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson doubled the number of trips to Victory Lane on the way to his championship.
When William Byron won twice and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Busch once apiece to open the current season, it raised Camaro’s total to 62 victories. Elliott and Larson lead the way with 18 and 14, respectively, followed by Alex Bowman with seven and Byron with six.
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