The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season will see Chevrolet teams competing with the new Camaro ZL1 1LE model two years after the Camaroâs debut and one year before the Next Gen carâs scheduled debut in the series.
Chad Knaus, entering his second season as crew chief on William Byronâs No. 24 Chevrolet, addressed the new Camaro model Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radioâs âThe Morning Drive.â
âThe unknown is obviously the car. Thatâs just going to take a little bit of time,â said Knaus, the last crew chief for a Chevrolet team to compete in the Cup Seriesâ Championship 4, when he and Jimmie Johnson won their seventh title in 2016.
In the Camaroâs first two years, Chevy teams have won 11 races, including four in 2018, while Ford won 29 races and Toyota won 32 races.
Another factor in the change was the problems with the ZL1âs pointed nose when it came to pushing other cars at Daytona and Talladega compared to Ford and Toyota and their flatter noses.
Knaus predicted the rollout of the new model will be âsignificantly differentâ to the Camaroâs debut in 2018.
âWeâre more educated, weâre better prepared,â Knaus said. âWhat happened when we we brought out the new car is at the exact same time NASCAR changed the way they were inspecting the cars and employing the Hawkeye laser scanner, right? The older car, when it was designed, wasnât really built for that. We had a little bit more leeway, we could have manipulated it letâs say just a little bit better to get some performance out of it. Well, with the restrictions that NASCARâs put on us with the surface conformance all the way around the car, we didnât have that ability.
âSo that car was, it came out behind, does that make sense? With those rules, we werenât able get on top of it. I do feel this car is coming out of the gate stronger. You never know that until you hit the race track, obviously. But I do feel itâs better and weâre going to be able to go out there and race a little bit better, which is great for Axalta and all our sponsors, theyâre expecting that.â
The Camaro ZL1 1LE model will see its first track action Feb. 8 when teams practice at Daytona International Speedway for the Feb. 9 Busch Clash and Feb. 9 Daytona 500 qualifying.