As traditional media often go to great lengths to discredit those who work in new media, I take great pleasure in finding occasions when the trad media types do exactly what they say us webbies do. We don’t have to answer to an editor they say. How can we be legitimate when we don’t have any accountability?
The subtitle reads: Detroit’s Showroom Muscle Used to Run at Top Tracks, but No More; a Marketing Blunder?
The author, Ben Austen, goes on to compare the modern muscle car wars to those of old and then wonder why the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger are not involved in NASCAR. He then briefly describes the evolution of NASCAR cars from stock cars to the current monstrosity that blunders it’s way around the track. It is asserted that production based cars are no longer feasible due to safety concerns.
The problem is that Austen has no personal historical reference point to base his article on. In other words, he doesn’t have a clue what he is writing about!
The original pony car wars took place at a grass roots level on local streets and local drag strips. The battles were fought in the famed Trans Am series at the oldest race tracks in North America by the greatest drivers of the day. The Trans Am series made household names of cars like Camaro, Mustang, Challenger Cuda, Javelin, AMX and a few others. Local and regional racers also raced these cars, often right out of the showroom. NASCAR had absolutely nothing to do with the pony car wars.
Did NASCAR sell cars? Hell yah! Did great honking engines get built and sold to the public because of NASCAR? Of course they did, but they didn’t race pony cars.
In today’s world, Mustangs are raced at drag strips and local road courses by amateurs and pros alike. The Challenger is available as a drag car and the Camaro seems to be following in the Mustang’s footsteps. There are several pro series that campaign production based cars, like Grand Am and the SCCA World Challenge and the modern pony cars are on the entry lists. Even cars like Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe that Austen mentions.
The modern pony car wars are alive and well at race tracks all over North America.
What a shame that traditional media can’t get their stuff together, even when they are accountable to an editor!
Accompanying photo of a modern Camaro race car courtesy of Stevenson Motorsports.
Editor’s note: Our sincerest apologies to the New York Times for accidentally crediting this article to them originally.