Chevy makes it official: No new Monte Carlo in 1999
David Poole, The Charlotte Observer
Tenn. (March 18, 1999)
Chevrolet finally made official Saturday what has been no
secret for several weeks now - the new Monte Carlo won't be racing in 1999.
``We at Chevrolet are disappointed that NASCAR has not yet approved the all-new
2000 Monte Carlo for use in Winston Cup competition,'' Kurt Ritter, Chevrolet marketing
general manager said in a release distributed Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
``Following recent discussions with the sanctioning body and our teams, we have made the
decision to delay the motorsports debut of this new Monte Carlo race car until next
Chevrolet still plans to launch sales of the new Monte Carlo model this summer. The
car will debut when it serves as the pace car for both the Indianapolis 500 and the
Coca-Cola 600 on May 30.
Ritter's statement leveled criticism at NASCAR for delaying the introduction of the
race car, which was planned to coincide with the debut of the production vehicle.
``We started working closely with NASCAR about 12 months ago when we first showed
them our intended version of the race car,'' Ritter's statement said. ``From that time
forward we consistently used NASCAR's input to develop the car before formally submitting
it in January for approval. We thought the vehicle, as presented then, was in line with
their expectations. Unfortunately, they did not agree and approval was not granted.
``Further changes were requested by NASCAR and, as before, we compiled with their
requests. As it stands today, NASCAR is asking us to make changes that, when compared to
the current '99 Monte Carlo and to other brands, would make the new car uncompetitive on
the race track.
``... It has now reached the point where time has run out for us and our Chevrolet
teams. Even if NASCAR was to approve the car today, the teams believe that, given the
latest change, they could not develop a competitive new car by this fall without
potentially jeopardizing their quest for the '99 Winston Cup crown. We cannot ask them to
take such a risk.''
Ritter's statement also took a swipe at the Ford Taurus, which General Motors
officials say differs too much from the street version of the car.
``One of our primary objectives with the new race car was to make it look similar
to the Chevy Monte Carlo production car,'' Ritter said. ``... The race car, as originally
submitted to NASCAR, utilizes production sheet metal in the hood, roof and decklid; that's
more 'stock' content than any other non-GM car on the circuit. Simply put, it has been our
intent to help NASCAR keep the word 'stock' in stock car racing.''