Chevrolet: New 2018 Camaro, young talent influx caused NASCAR slump

Chevrolet says it is now on the right track in the NASCAR Cup series after a troubled introduction for the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro and the exit of veteran drivers

Chevrolet: New 2018 Camaro, young talent influx caused NASCAR slump

The General Motors brand made the perfect start with its new-for-2018 Camaro by winning the season-opening Daytona 500, but it took until the 22nd race of the season to win again, snapping the streak at Watkins Glen with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott.

It ended the season with four wins in 36 races while Toyota's second-year Camry managed 13 victories to the outgoing Ford Fusion's 19.

Chevrolet also lost star name Dale Earnhardt Jr ahead of the 2018 season and Jimmie Johnson endured a career-worst campaign.

The manufacturers' vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, Jim Campbell, has argued the season was transitional.

"Obviously [we] didn't have anybody in the Championship for the Cup [title], so that's disappointing," he said.

"But I would say that as I take a look at a year in which we introduced a new car, the Camaro ZL1, and we have begun this transition that we all go through at different points.

"Many veteran drivers have started to retire, and we're bringing in a young crew of drivers.

"We had our young group that got a year of experience.

"You see Chase Elliott really accelerated his season through the back half with three wins in the last 14 races, and then [Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle] Larson was very consistent all year long, didn't make the final four, but proud of those guys."

He added that Chevrolet was now on the right track. "Overall, the trajectory of the season was not exactly what we wanted," he said.

"But definitely heading in a better direction than in the front half of the season.

"When you bring a new car in, and you have change over in drivers, those are big moments for manufacturers.

"More work to do. But I'm really excited about what that means for us for next year."

The Camaro will enter its second year of competition in 2018, while Toyota has continually updated its car in a two-year cycle.

Ford will bring an all-new Mustang to the series in 2019.

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Author Tom Errington
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