Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Motorsports Style - The 1997 Dodge Stratus NATCC Touring Car

John Marine | 12/22/2010 04:32:00 AM |
In 1997, hardly anyone could touch David Donohue as he blasted away to the NATCC championship. The Dodge Stratus in the NATCC would be the last winning car of the ill-fated North American Touring Car Championship Series. Being the last winner of a defunct series bears some importance. And in so, I've decided to do a Motorsports Style blog entry regarding the winning car of the 1997 NATCC season.

--- Motorsports Style: The 1997 Dodge Stratus NATCC Touring Car ---
Here is the car I'll be talking about:

Dodge Stratus NATCC
^ from: - the Dodge Stratus NATCC Touring Car. This car was raced by David Donohue, the 1997 NATCC champion, and the final champion of the ill-fated North American Touring Car Championship.

The road-going Stratus lasted longer than the NATCC did. Since we're talking about a car from the 1990s, everything will obviously be much more different in technology and design compared to today's cars. You could basically get rid of the rear wing and give it the front bumper of a road-going (at its time) Dodge Stratus, and you'd swear it highly resembles its road-going counterpart on the outside.

I like the simplistic red and white colors of this car. I have always seemed to like Dodges in red. You wouldn't see this as a proper racing car. This car has a lovely set of (and I am guessing) 16-spoke racing wheels as well. Its modest rear wing looks very nice to compliment the rest of the car. It probably keeps the rear down on the ground. It is nothing special design-wise as a whole, but it still a very lovely car. The paint scheme is simplistic (boring to most people), but lovely. Perhaps the loveliest sight for most people is in seeing this car in victory lane quite often.

This video below was from 1997 at Toronto. David Donohue's car is the red and white Dodge Stratus, and he started behind Dominic Dobson (who was the polesitter for this video clip you're about to see) in his yellow and red PPG Dodge Stratus. Bob Varsha called this race for ESPN2. Here is a video look at the Dodge Stratus in the NATCC:

It's sad this car probably couldn't have contested international touring car series for any extended longevity. Then again, I would highly doubt this car was even sold overseas in its time. This is really the only car a lot of people will remember from the NATCC with the pathetic car counts for races. If you read my blog entry about if the NATCC were still around, you might have noticed the disappointing count of about 10 or 12 cars to a track. Even today's BTCC could have two to three times more cars than what the NATCC could generate. There were even some cars not even sold in the United States that competed in the NATCC.

So remember the Dodge Stratus NATCC touring car because it was the last-ever car to win the NATCC championship. Remember David Donohue for giving this memory for the NATCC until its untimely demise. There is still no doubt the NATCC could have lasted much longer if there was more interest and marketing, in addition to better involvement from the represented manufacturers. Not even in Gran Turismo 2 could you Race Modify the Stratus. If there was a Racing Modification for it, the Stratus NATCC Touring Car would have likely been the result. Still, Dodge was a very consistent contender in this series. Just too bad this series never seriously evolved.

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