Chevrolet unveils next year's model

LAS VEGAS -- The cover finally is off the new Chevrolet entry for the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

Chevrolet, the only manufacturer that hadn't introduced next year's model, unveiled the SS that will replace the Impala in NASCAR's top series on Thursday at the Wynn Las Vegas Theater.

Chevy went with a theme of a return to being relevant on the showroom floor, just as other manufacturers have done in unveiling their new models. NASCAR president Mike Helton called it a milestone for the sport, a moment that will be looked back on someday as significant.

The new car in many ways is an admission that the common template Car of Tomorrow that was introduced in 2007 was a mistake in that it took the stock out of stock car racing.

"Race cars should always be street cars on steroids, and that's what we have now,'' said four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who drove the new car onto the theater stage.

Team owner Rick Hendrick said the new car hopefully will give fans incentive to buy more cars that are on the track. He couldn't remember the last time the Cup car and street car looked so similar.

"It definitely will bring traffic into our showroom,'' said Hendrick, one of the top dealership owners in the country.

The only concern is NASCAR still hasn't delivered to teams a final rules package for the car. NASCAR expects that to occur soon with a Dec. 10-11 test scheduled at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"We're all building cars,'' team owner Richard Childress said. "We're just hoping we don't have to turn them into showroom cars.''

Kenny Francis, the crew chief for Kasey Kahne, said the new car hopefully will help the sport return to the days when teams complained that one manufacturer had an advantage because of the design differences.

"I kind of liked those days,'' he said. "It gave fans something to argue about.''