The Chevrolet 2014 racing season: Our teams win, our drivers win and, because of what we learn at the racetrack every weekend, our customers win.
“You can’t win them all,” noted baseball legend Connie Mack.
It’s true, of course, but at Chevrolet, that doesn’t mean we don’t try.
And with a motorsports season like the one Chevrolet racing teams had in 2014, one thing is clear: No manufacturer in a major racing series won more.
Take the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, for instance. Four drivers - two in Chevrolets, one in a Ford, one in a Toyota - entered the last event of the 36-race season at Homestead-Miami Speedway with equally adjusted points, meaning the driver who finished highest won the Sprint Cup championship.
And when the checkered flag fell, it was Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick first across the finish line in his Chevrolet SS, followed less than two seconds later by Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman, giving Chevy a one-two finish not only in the race, but in the season championship.
And to cap that off, Chevrolet also won its 12th straight manufacturers’ Championship, and our 38th overall championship since our first in 1958.
"Winning the manufacturers' championship is one of the goals we set at the beginning of every season," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "This championship is the result of great teamwork by the owners, drivers, crew chiefs, crews and technical partners. Special thanks to the Chevrolet powertrain team, along with the engine shops at Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt-Childress Racing for delivering the right combination of power, fuel economy and reliability throughout the entire season. Congratulations to everyone who has made this special achievement possible for Chevrolet."
Team Chevy drivers who contributed to the manufacturers’ points title: Kevin Harvick (five wins), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (four wins), Jeff Gordon (four wins), Jimmie Johnson (four wins), A.J. Allmendinger (one win), Kurt Busch (one win) and Kasey Kahne (one win), along with top finishers Landon Cassill, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.
And special congratulations to Kyle Larson, who won the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of Austin Dillon, another Chevrolet SS driver, who sat on the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500®.
But we didn't stop with the Sprint Cup championship at NASCAR. Rookie driver Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, won the NASCAR Nationwide Series title for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports team, driving a Chevrolet Camaro. And Chevrolet also won the manufacturers' championship in the Nationwide Series.
On the same weekend Harvick and Elliott were wrapping up the top two NASCAR titles on the East Coast, another championship battle was underway in California, where National Hot Rod Association drag racer Erica Enders-Stevens was locked in a tight points battle for the Pro Stock title with three-time champ Jason Line, both Chevrolet Camaro drivers.
At the last race of the season at Pomona, the final round came down to a race between the two title contenders, with Enders-Stevens getting her sixth season win and the first-ever Pro Stock championship for a female driver.
"Congratulations to Erica Enders-Stevens on capturing her first NHRA Pro Stock championship and becoming the first woman in the sport to claim the Pro Stock crown," said Roger Allen, Chevrolet Racing NHRA Program Manager. "It was a hard-fought battle for her and the Elite Motorsports Camaro team that came right down to the final round of the season finale. This is an amazing accomplishment, making Erica only the third female driver to win an NHRA national title."
Earlier this fall and not far from Pomona, Auto Club Speedway was the site for another season-ending battle, this time for the Verizon IndyCar® Series. Chevrolet had already clinched its third straight IndyCar Manufacturers’ Championship with two races left in the series’ season, but the driver’s title came down to the final race in Fontana, California. There, Team Penske Chevrolet driver Will Power took his first series title, while another Chevy driver, 2013 Indianapolis 500® winner Tony Kanaan, won the race.
"Congratulations to Will and the No. 12 Verizon Team on their championship," said Jim Campbell. "Will ran a smart race with high-percentage moves throughout the night to bring home his first title. He gave it his all. To see Team Chevy drivers capture the top four positions in the final standings reflects the durability, reliability, power and excellent fuel economy of the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine." Power narrowly beat out Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, also racing with Chevrolet power, for the championship.
But while any manufacturer would consider any year where you win NASCAR, NHRA and IndyCar titles a stunningly successful one, Chevrolet wasn’t through.
At the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona on January 25, a new era began in sports car racing: The GRAND-AM series merged with the American Le Mans Series to form the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
And for Chevrolet, it meant that the two sports cars we race – the ALMS GT class Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, now based on the Corvette Z06, and the GRAND-AM Corvette Daytona Prototype, which is built from the ground up to be an exotic, track-only model – would, for the first time, be racing together on the same track.
They would not race against each other, though – the Corvette Daytona Prototype is a pure racing machine competing against other prototype models, while the GT Le Mans car that Corvette Racing fields competes against other models based on different manufacturers’ sports cars, ranging from the Ferrari 458 to the Porsche 911.
At the end of the long season, Chevrolet had plenty of wins to show for it: Seven for the Corvette Daytona Prototype – including the 24 Hours At Daytona, where we swept the top four spots, and at the season-ending, 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta – and four wins for the GT Le Mans Corvette C7.R.
The TUDOR Championship "is a showcase that highlights reliability, power, handling, toughness and engineering innovation," said Jim Campbell. "All qualities our customers value in the Chevrolets we sell."
So whether your favorite form of motorsports is stock cars, drag racing, open wheel racing or sports car racing, Chevrolet was there. Ganando.
No, not all of them. Not yet. But 2015 is just around the corner.