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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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.