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Toyota may face a challenge to its on-track dominance as a new player emerges Chris Graythen/Getty Images
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 SKF Ford, race during the weather delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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.

Related: NASCAR analysts speak out on whether they believe Toyota has an advantage

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.

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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.

Cole Frederick About the author:
Cole Frederick is from a small town in Alabama, and he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism. He loves all sports - especially football and basketball - and quotes The Office frequently.
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