NASCAR Chevy SS - 6th generation in the Sprint Cup
If one name is synonymous with NASCAR, it most definitely is Chevrolet. From the first drop of the flag on February 15th, 1948, in Daytona Beach, Chevrolet has been around, winning and losing, but never quitting the series. Over the years, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing has progressed to the most popular racing series in North America, and the cars have greatly evolved too. The sixth generation of NASCAR Chevrolet bears the name and resemblance of the current SS sedan.
Chevrolet is a dominant force in NASCAR
With 37 manufacturers’ championship titles in its hands and eleventh in a row as of 2015, Chevrolet prepared an improved version of the Generation-6 car introduced in 2013. The car took strong visual cues from the road-going Chevrolet SS high performance sedan that debuted in 2013 as well. In the tradition of NASCAR, the SS has been thoroughly reworked for the purpose of racing. Its safety has been improved by adding a forward roof bar and center roof support bar, which improved the integrity of the car and increased crush structure of the roof. In addition to that, larger roof flaps have improved liftoff numbers and decreased the possibility of cars getting airborne.
Sacrificing power for better overall performance of the Chevrolet SS
With lightness as the key to speed and agility, the weight has been reduced by 160 pounds for 2015: 100 on the right and 60 on the left side, and minimum weight of the driver has also been reduced, from 200 to 180 pounds. But, while the aerodynamics and overall performance have been improved, the engine output has been reduced, so the 2015 NASCAR Chevrolet had 725 HP, as opposed to 850 HP in 2014. Also, lower differential gear ratios targeting was in use, so all cars redlined at 9,000 RPM. In 2015, there was an optional adjustable driver track bar, and also, the size of the radiator pan has been decreased from 43 inches to 38 inches. In 2016, the cars benefited from the new aerodynamic packages and mechanic changes, and the horsepower stayed the same as in 2015, with the same redline of 9.000RPM. Safety has been improved for all cars and digital dashboards will be mandatory for all drivers.
Chevrolet won its twelfth straight title in 2015
With twelve teams using 22 Chevrolet SS cars in 2015, Chevrolet was again the most popular manufacturer in the Sprint Cup, and it won the Manufacturers’ title again, despite the 2015 Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch driving a Toyota. That was Chevrolet’s 38th total and 12th straight title.
At the end of the season, Chevrolet scored a total of 15 wins, with Toyota scoring 14 and Ford having just seven wins. The winning manufacturer scored 1584 points, while the runners-up ended the season with 1516 and 1498. Also, in 2015, Kevin Harvick scored the 750th NASCAR main series win for Chevrolet at Dover. Harvick lead the AAA 400 for 355 out of 400 laps in a dominating performance and 48th win for the Chevrolet SS since its debut in 2013.
Video : Chevrolet SS track test in 2015
Chevrolet is looking forward to claiming one more Sprint Cup title in 2016
For the 2016 Sprint Cup season, Chevrolet will be present in eight chartered teams which will run a total of 19 cars, and three more limited-schedule teams. With drivers such as Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Danica Patrick, and an upcoming young prospect and Jeff Gordon‘s #24 heir Chase Elliott driving the Chevy SS in 2016, Chevrolet had much to look forward to in the Sprint Cup season of 2016.
Will the replacement come in 2017?
However, the 2016 Sprint Cup season may be the last for the 6th generation NASCAR Chevrolet because in 2017, Chevrolet’s Holden subsidiary is set to close its doors. That would eventually lead to the end of production of the Zeta platform on which the Chevrolet SS and its Australian high performance cousin Holden Commodore are based. The decision led to the retirement of the SS and with no interest in promoting a retired car in the most popular American racing series, Chevrolet will probably look for other options and possibly introduce a new car for the 2017 Sprint Cup season. With both Ford and Toyota advertising their mid-size Fusion and Camry through NASCAR, the replacement for SS could easily be a Chevrolet Malibu, a mid-size sedan which was Chevrolet’s NASCAR choice from 1973 to 1983.