Found February 16, 2013 on
Speedway Digest - Home for NASCAR News:
Thematically, the message was abundantly clear, as Chevrolet unveiled the production version of its new high-performance SS model to a throng of fans and media Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
"NASCAR and the car manufacturers for years have been talking about the need to visually put the 'stock' back in stock car racing," said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America. "This is the year that that finally happens for our sport and our brand."
Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon did the official unveiling, driving a gleaming silver SS to a prominent position in the Daytona Fan Zone. Fresh from opening practice for the Daytona 500, Gordon stepped out of the car clad in his fire suit.
"This thing goes so fast, I think I need to be in my uniform," quipped Gordon, who then turned serious as he spoke to Reuss. "It's a four-door sedan, but it's got the heart of a Corvette. I love what you guys are doing, by bringing that luxury and performance together."
The new Chevrolet SS is a rear-wheel-drive, fuel-injected sedan based on the Commodore built by Australia-based Holden, a GM subsidiary. In fact, Reuss served as chairman managing director of Holden from February 2008 through September 2009.
When he returned to GM in the United States, unifying the brand identity between the Cup car and a street car was at the top of Reuss' to-do list. He met with NASCAR president Mike Helton and NASCAR principals Lesa France Kennedy and Jim France. The agenda? A new car.
"This is the first thing I did when I came back from Australia was to sit down with Mike and Lesa and Jim," Reuss told the NASCAR Wire Service after the unveiling. "The car that we had had little to do with an Impala. The car before that had little to do with a Monte Carlo. It goes back a ways, right?
"We didn't do this right for a long time, and that's really kind of the way I look at it."
Helton acknowledged that prodding from the manufacturers accelerated the development of the new Gen-6 race cars, which were set to make their competitive debuts in Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.
"This was a great collaborative effort," Helton said. "We can't thank Chevrolet enough for having led the charge on that -- backed us in a corner and said, 'Here's what you guys need to think about doing,' causing us maybe to react a little bit ahead of our own schedule.
"But it worked, and it worked well, and we're very grateful for their participation, and we're excited to see what happens in 2013."
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