Put a bow tie on it: NASCAR fans pick Chevy SS as favorite production car

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With five of the current top 10 drivers in the Sprint Cup standings driving Chevrolets, perhaps the results of a new study about NASCAR fans is not all that surprising.

As an old NASCAR saying goes, race on Sunday, sell in dealerships on Monday.

In a recent poll conducted by Kelly Blue Book (KBB.com), nearly 600 fans across the country were asked if NASCAR drivers raced in production versions of their cars, which would be the fan favorite of the three major manufacturer brands currently in use in the Sprint Cup Series.

The Chevrolet SS was the overwhelming favorite, drawing 57 percent of the fan vote, according to KBB.com.

A distant second was the Ford Fusion, which drew only 23 percent of the vote, while the Toyota Camry brought up the rear with just 20 percent of the fan vote.

“Nearly 60 percent of consumers polled believe the everyday version of the Chevrolet SS would take home first place if a NASCAR driver was racing it, demonstrating that the Chevrolet brand resonates for performance both in the racing realm and in the real world,” said Arthur Henry, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “When NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently raced his Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet SS to victory lane for the third time this season alone, he helped increase the model’s perception as an attainable performance vehicle.”

(Not surprisingly, Kelly Blue Book is an associate sponsor of Earnhardt’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which has three wins thus far this season. KBB will continue as one of Earnhardt’s associate sponsors next season, as well.)

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F1 2017 driver review: Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen

Team: Red Bull Racing
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 2
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 168
Laps Led: 133
Championship Position: 6th

Max Verstappen rise as a once-in-a-generation talent continued through the 2017 Formula 1 season, even if reliability issues meant we were made to wait for his best form to arrive.

Verstappen stole the show in a wet-dry Chinese Grand Prix by charging from 16th to seventh in the opening lap before ultimately finishing third for Red Bull, yet he would not grace the podium again until the Malaysian Grand Prix at the start of October.

A combination of power unit problems and on-track clashes saw Verstappen retire from seven of the 12 races in the intermittent period, with incidents in Spain and Austria being avoidable.

Perhaps most embarrassing of all was his stoppage due to a power unit failure in front of a grandstand swathed in orange at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race tens of thousands of Dutch fans had attended to cheer Verstappen on.

But when Verstappen got things right, it was – as he frequently quoted – simply, simply lovely. There was plenty left in the tank, as proven by his sheer domination of the races in Malaysia and Mexico as he took the second and third wins of his career.

Perhaps even more impressive was Verstappen’s victory over Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the qualifying head-to-head battle this year, an area the Australian has traditionally been strong in. Verstappen outqualifed his teammate 13-7 – it wasn’t even close…

All in all, Verstappen once again proved that on his day, he is one of the finest talents to grace F1 in recent years. With the right car underneath him next year, a title fight is certainly possible and will be the target – but there is always room for improvement.

And that is the scary part: Verstappen is only going to get better and better.

Season High: Dominating in Malaysia after an early pass on Lewis Hamilton.

Season Low: Crashing out on Lap 1 in Austria.