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Is Chevrolet set to race the Malibu in NASCAR?
No, we don't have a tacit admission from the party involved, Chevrolet, but we think you will find the circumstantial evidence rather compelling. It suggests that Chevy will race the Malibu instead of the Impala for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, up against the 2013 Fusion that Ford revealed last week during the NASCAR Media Tour at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Please consider the facts:

-- NASCAR has capitulated to the manufacturers' desires to race vehicles that more closely resemble the cars they sell. The NASCAR Ford Fusion indeed resembles the 2013 Fusion for the road. But given NASCAR's single-minded mandate to equalize competition, the sanctioning body and the manufacturers had to reach a compromise body template that could be massaged to resemble each company's road-going vehicle.

A huge concession for 2013: Instead of mandating where the body material and glass (actually lexan for racing) has to be on its race cars' greenhouses, NASCAR no longer cares. As long as the surfaces are solid, they can be made either from body metal or lexan. That means manufacturers will be able to more easily shape their racing machines to resemble their street cars.

In addition, the area below the greenhouse but above the rocker panels is also open for styling differences, making possible, for instance, the side-strake ridges in the NASCAR Fusion that genuinely help the appearance but likely won't affect performance. AutoWeek

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