Toyota dominated in NASCAR in 2017, and the manufacturer’s cars seemed faster all season as Martin Truex Jr. drove his No. 78 Toyota to a championship.
Chevrolet and Ford are now playing catchup, and Chevy might have the better chance to challenge Toyota in 2018.
Chevy is unveiling its new 2018 Camaro ZL1 for the Cup Series next season, and that alone could help them compete and even surpass Toyota. No Chevy driver made the Championship 4 in 2017, but the new Camaro could help propel one of its driver to a title.
Richard Petty Motorsports is moving from Ford to Chevy next season, and they are partnering with Richard Childress Racing.
While RPM only has one driver affected by the move in Bubba Wallace, it does leave many of the young drivers in NASCAR with Chevy. Wallace, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron and Alex Bowman will all be driving Chevy’s next season.
Chevy’s new model of the Camaro means Ford will be the last manufacturer to upgrade its car for the Cup Series. It’s likely RPM made the move because they felt like Chevy has the better chance to win next season.
Ford isn’t necessarily left for dead, but they are at a disadvantage next season. The last driver to win the Cup Series championship in a Ford was Kurt Busch in 2004, which obviously isn’t a great trend for Ford. In fact, Dodge — who isn’t even in the Cup Series anymore — has won a championship since Ford.
Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing are still with Ford, and drivers such as Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney are all expected to be championship contenders. But Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing are in better positions as teams right now, which gives Chevy another advantage over Ford.
Chevy’s changes and improvements don’t necessarily mean they’ll catch Toyota next season, but the manufacturer is in a better place than Ford at the moment — especially given all the young, talented drivers it has for next season and beyond.