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Chevrolet unveils 2013 Sprint Cup car

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November 29, 2012 06:35 PM EST | AP

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LAS VEGAS — Chevrolet unveiled its 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup car Thursday.

The matching Chevrolet SS passenger car, a new rear-wheel drive vehicle that will be available in showrooms in August, will be unveiled in February around the season-opening Daytona 500, when it will debut on the track.

"As a passionate race fan, the debut of the SS NASCAR race car is a genuinely exciting moment for me," GM North America President Mark Reuss said. "With the SS, Chevrolet is delivering a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car that is very closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale, ensuring that our most loyal enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience the same thrill every day on the open road that our race car drivers enjoy on the track on race day."

The Chevrolet SS replaces the Impala, which won 152 races from 1959-64 and 2007-12.

"The new SS looks awesome. That's the great thing, it's back to looking like a production car again," three-time champion Tony Stewart said. "It's a design that I really like. It's got the perfect blend of having a race car look, but a street car look at the same time, and that's hard to do. No matter what you're a fan of, you're going to be able to pick out your favorite brand of car and see it from the stands."

The Chevrolet passenger car will be built in Australia and sold in the U.S. It's the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan in the U.S., and Chevy will rely on the engineering, technology and infrastructure used to build the Holden Commodore in Australia to build the SS.

Chevrolet officials used the events surrounding NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony to unveil the car, and had several of its drivers and team owners on hand with their 2013 cars.

NASCAR has allowed its three manufacturers to redesign its 2013 cars to more closely resemble production cars.

"I think it's one of the most important moves that NASCAR and the manufacturers have made in a very long time," Chevy driver Kevin Harvick said. "Just for the fact that the cars on the race track will be very significant in looking like the cars on the showroom floor. I think from a manufacturer's standpoint it's probably the most important move that has happened in a really long time. For the fans to have that relevance from the race track to the showroom is important."