Never before has there been more anticipation for a new season than what NASCAR is expecting for their 2013 campaign. It's not just because of the drivers, it's not just because of the competition, and it's not just the knowledge that a new season is nearly here.
There has never been more anticipation for a new season simply because of the cars every driver will be piloting for 2013.
The new "Generation Six" stock cars are the most detailed and most accurate depiction of their street counterparts since the late 1990s when Ford had the Taurus, Chevrolet had the Monte Carlo and Pontiac had their Grand Prix. The new cars, which are on the same chassis as the previous design, could be a dead giveaway for being the real cars on the street.
Since the introduction of the "Car of Tomorrow" for part of the 2007 season, the biggest complaint by many fans has been that the cars have not had a real identity. It has been almost as if the "stock" in stock car was taken away. The new design was boxier, had a wider and taller stance, and rather than a spoiler it was equipped with a wing on the back. In the first race it ever saw on the track, eventual winner Kyle Busch said flat out, "these things suck."
Obviously that has some meaning because the car remained virtually unchanged from 2007 into it's first full season a year later, and all through 2009.
It wasn't until 2010 when NASCAR elected to allow some new ideas to come to the new car. So, early in the year, the wing was taken off the back and replaced with a more traditional spoiler. It was a step in the right direction, but more needed done.
The next year saw another change, as the front splitter area was changed from having the visible braces to having a full front facia, a more sleek and aerodynamic look.
But, the identity of the cars were still not there. In essence, each car was the same, just with different decals on the nose and back to designate the different manufacturers. There really wasn't any real "identity" with the cars, they were all the same, much like the old IROC Series that ended about six years ago.
That certainly cannot be said of the new cars that Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and others will drive next year. Each car has it's own look, it's own personality, and it's own attitude.
Ford was the first to unveil the car it's teams will drive for 2013, and the all-new Fusion has a mean stance and hard-charging attitude. The new design from Ford includes a big grille, almost looking like a mouth that wants to chow down on the competition. It has an attitude where it looks evil just standing still.
That put all the other manufacturers on alert to keep up with the looks, and see what they got.
Before they elected to withdraw from NASCAR, Dodge revealed their 2013 Charger race car, and the only major difference seen was simly the tires on the car. A mirror image was seen and it certainly got the attention wanted. Unfortunately, the car will never see the track.
Toyota followed suit and brought forth their Camry, which had a smaller grille style, but once again looked just like their street counterpart. Considering Toyota has come close to winning a title in two of the last three seasons, it could mean a new champion could be on the horizon once again.
Finally, after waiting till the week of the banquet, Chevrolet unveiled their new 2013 car, the SS. When compared to the Impala that had been used the last six years, there is none. The new car is sleek, and has more of a sports-car style than one would expect. When unveiled by Jeff Gordon and Chevrolet executives, everyone was impressed.
Now, fans and teams must wait a month before hitting the track for testing at Daytona. But there has never been more anticipation for new cars on the track in NASCAR's 60-plus year history.
This really could be the return of the old saying "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday."