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2000 Monte Carlo readies for competition
MRN - '99 News

(Jan. 12, 1998) -- Chevrolet teams have been waiting and waiting for their 1999 Monte Carlo to get approved and it finally appears as though it might happen as early as this week. Monday, Chevrolet and NASCAR officials met in Daytona to apparently make the final revisions and approvals for the new Monte Carlo templates. One NASCAR official said that teams may get templates as early as Friday of this week. Teams will then finally be able to start producing their own Monte Carlos. "It's been a frustrating ordeal," said one Chevy crew chief that wished to remain anonymous. "I will be glad when we can get going."

Do not expect this to be the final version of the Monte Carlo however. Once the body shape is determined, NASCAR is expected to schedule several wind tunnel dates, before the new Monte Carlo hits the track, where they plan to test the car extensively. Once data is secured changes are expected to the spoilers and valances. "There's no way the car that will get approved this week will be the exact car that we take to the track (more than likely the first race with the new car)," said another Chevy crew chief. "There will be plenty of changes to that car before it sees the race track, trust me."

The logic behind NASCAR approving the body and then making changes from there based on wind tunnel results is sound. At all costs Gary Nelson and gang want to avoid what happened in 1995, when the current version Monte Carlo debuted and all three makes had to endure several changes throughout the first half of the season, as NASCAR attempted to level the playing field. Nobody wants a repeat of that situation.

*So what does the new Monte Carlo look like. "It's nothing like what the current one looks like," said one crew chief. "It actually looks like a Lincoln Continental, just like the one Tim Brewer built for John Andretti a few years ago at Charlotte." It looks that way because there is a hump in the middle of the rear deck lid, which for the Chevrolet teams is good because that will give the car more down force, because the spoiler is higher in the air. But more down force on the intermediate and short tracks equals more drag on the superspeedways, which could be this race car's Achilles heel. "I'd love to keep the old Monte Carlo for the restrictor plate races and use the new one everywhere else," said one Chevrolet team manager. "But we'll figure it out, they said the Taurus would be an awful restrictor plate car too and it looked pretty good to me in all the plate races." But some teams are not ruling out the option of taking the old Monte Carlo as a back up for the July Daytona race, which will more than likely be the first restrictor plate race for the new Monte Carlo.

*In case you were wondering, and the question was asked the other day. No the NASCAR Busch Series will not see the new 1999 Monte Carlo in 1999. It will more than likely not make its Busch Series debut until 2000.