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Monte Carlo aimed to debut at Brickyard
'99 News
Jim Utter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb, 10, 1999) --- Chevrolet officials still hope to debut the 1999 Monte Carlo during the Winston Cup season and are altering their plans on its debut date.

Winston Cup director Gary Nelson said Monday NASCAR had not approved the 1999 Monte Carlo and would do no further testing until after Sunday's Daytona 500.

The delay -- Chevrolet was hoping the car would be approved in January -- ruled out a planned debut of the model in May in time for the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte.

Sources said Tuesday Chevrolet has targeted a new date -- the Aug. 7 Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis -- for the car's debut in Winston Cup. The Brickyard 400 is quickly becoming one of the most prominent races on the Winston Cup circuit.

A debut in August would allow NASCAR several more weeks to test the car and approve the templates needed to build the new model. But it would also mean Chevrolet teams would begin operating with a new body style with more than half the season complete.

There are risks debuting the car late in the season.

If problems develop with the new model and NASCAR must issue rules changes after its debut -- such as what transpired in 1998 with the Ford Taurus -- the results might affect a close championship race.

The 1999 Monte Carlo has been in development for more than six months and has undergone more than a dozen wind tunnel tests. Nelson said the model had no one specific problem, but NASCAR was not yet comfortable with its ability to race side-by-side with other cars.