I have spent a lot of time in many different forms of motorsports, as well as simply being immersed in the culture of cars. I love cars. I like anything that’s fast. Even if it isn’t “fast,” or my style, I’d like to think I have an open enough mind to appreciate the hard work that other people put in on their cars. Maybe that’s because I’ve put in the time and know what it takes to achieve a quality result.
I grew up with old Chevys. My father restored, and eventually drag raced a ’57 Chevy, which is the car that started my love affair with cars and racing. Over the years I remember a lot of different cars in and out of the backyard, but the Chevys of the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s are the one that stuck with me. I have a soft spot in my heart for Novas, Chevelles, and Camaros. In fact, I still have my ’67 Chevelle drag car that I built with my father when I was 15.
When I reached the age that I could start driving, I wanted a ’68 Chevelle, but quickly came to the realization that there was no way I could afford it working at a pet food store. So I looked for a less expensive performance option. This is when I found Mustangs. The Fox-body Mustangs of the late ’80s and early ’90s offer great performance, are easily upgraded, and above all, are reasonably affordable. I have had street Mustangs, road race Mustangs, drag race Mustangs, and now I even have a circle track Mustang—you know it as City Boy. (Before the lynching begins, City Boy will be back in the shop very very soon, and hopefully on track before long.)
When it comes to race cars, my taste in cars remains unchanged. I love the vintage Late Models, Modifies, and Street Stocks built from old Chevys, and I am head-over-heels in love with the new stock-appearing Mustang bodies (Circle Track has one, and that too will be on track very soon!) The “wedge” bodies are great for downforce and aerodynamics, but when the cars don’t look anything like “real cars,” I think there is something lost. Especially when you look at the younger race fans, who may have never seen stock cars that look like “stock cars.”
NASCAR has even taken hold of the concept, debuting all-new bodies for this year’s Sprint Cup season. Granted, the Nationwide series has had “stock appearing” bodies for a few years now, but let’s be honest, it looked like you molded a stockish looking nose on a COT. The idea was good. It gave the cars some form of brand recognition, but when the bodylines and accents have to be painted on, you lose some of the realness of it.
The new Cup cars needed to happen, and I applaud NASCAR for making the moves they did. Fans should be able to recognize what each car is from any angle. I understand that we will never get back to racing production cars, but this is a huge step in the right direction!
Now we just need the stock appearing bodies to become more popular at the short tracks across the country, and maybe we can attract some of the younger fans who might not “get it.”