Axalta teams up with Ameristar Perimeter Security to feature the new 2017 paint scheme for the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS for Spring Race Weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), on Sunday, March 19, 2017. As a partner of Axalta, which is primary sponsor of the car in Phoenix, Ameristar will be prominently featured on the car. Dale Earnhardt Jr., voted by fans as NASCAR®’s most popular driver for the 14th consecutive season, will be behind the wheel. Earnhardt Jr. is a 26-time Sprint Cup winner and has three career wins at PIR.

This weekend’s race will be the first to feature the new paint scheme, which is nicknamed "Flash Point" by legendary designer Sam Bass, due to its graphic designs along the body of the car. Axalta’s AquaEC™ electrocoat corrosion prevention coatings are used on Ameristar’s Montage products, the leading brand of ornamental steel fences in North America. Manufactured for strength and durability, Ameristar’s Montage decorative fencing products rely on Axalta’s innovative corrosion protection qualities to ensure its fences can withstand the elements and offer a lifetime limited warranty.

“We’re excited about this new alliance between Ameristar and Axalta,” said Barry Willingham, President of Ameristar Perimeter Security. “By combining the capabilities of Axalta’s coatings technology with our state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, we will be able to deliver our customers a product quality that is unprecedented in our industry. Ameristar’s partnership with Axalta allows for product differentiation today, and their commitment to product innovation translates into our future growth for tomorrow.”

In addition to Sunday’s headlining race, Ameristar will be the feature sponsor of the No. 9 car driven by William Byron in the Xfinity race on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

“I’m excited to have Ameristar participate in the Spring Race Weekend, and to see their logo on the newly painted No. 88 Chevrolet SS,” said Michael Cash, President of Industrial Coatings at Axalta. “Racing is all about the commitment to excellence, innovation, technology and teamwork - attributes that are key to success on the track and in business. Our great customers, like Ameristar, demonstrate this commitment every day and we are privileged to be able to support their goals through our products, our services, and the ways in which we help our customers build their businesses.”

Chevrolet Thailand has taken the covers off two exciting new, Australian designed and built show vehicles, Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier at the 37th Bangkok International Motor Show. The vehicles, which explore two very different directions for the popular truck and SUV, give customers a strong hint at Chevrolet and Holden’s future design direction.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Bernhard said the show vehicles were an exciting exploration into the distinct character of each vehicle, created to gauge interest and receive invaluable feedback from customers.

“The Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show vehicles were created with the intent of injecting excitement and passion into the critical light commercial and SUV segments, while reinforcing Holden and Chevrolet’s commitment to exciting design and listening to customer feedback,” said Bernhard. “It’s especially exciting that our GM Australia design team were able to lead this project, working in collaboration with GM Brazil and GM Thailand.

“We have a world class design team based in Port Melbourne, who continually impress the world with stunning concepts such as the 2015 North American Concept Car of the Year, Buick Avenir, the recently revealed, Australian built, Opel GT and now the Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show vehicles.”

Demonstrating the platform’s significant potential and versatility, the two multi-faceted vehicles showcase two very distinct personalities offering customers unlimited possibilities. Speaking from the Bangkok International Motor Show, Vice President of GM International Sales, Marketing & Aftersales, Mike Devereux, said the show cars were proof that General Motors was constantly exploring how its brands respond to maturing markets.

“We want to continue to lead the charge in these segments in this region and we think these two vehicles are clear demonstrations of that,” Devereux said. “The Colorado Xtreme is the ultimate tough American truck that Chevrolet is famous for all over the world. With an integrated accessory range ensuring our customers can customize their truck to the most challenging environment. It is an off-road vehicle that not only looks tough but can absolutely tackle any challenge thrown its way.

“And while the Trailblazer Premier remains just as capable for the adventurous family, it explores a different side of its persona. It responds directly to the growing desire for a more luxurious and sophisticated SUV, one that boasts premium appointments inside and out.”

In collaboration with GM Brazil and GM Thailand, Australian designers were able to leverage Chevrolet’s long history of designing tough, durable and serious off-road vehicles, which embody the best of American automobile ingenuity. Vice President of GMI Design, Michael Simcoe, explained show cars were created for numerous reasons, some look years into the future, some are pure expressions of creativity and others, like these, push the boundaries within reality.

“We’re calling on Chevrolet’s rich history and know-how to demonstrate our leadership in these segments and announcing where we hope to take these exciting vehicles in the near future,” Simcoe said. “Our focus here was about pushing these vehicles in two completely different directions, ensuring they are standalone vehicles in their own right. It is great to have the opportunity to showcase design possibilities today that could be developed and seen in the cars and trucks of tomorrow.”

Colorado Xtreme

Colorado Xtreme delivers on its promise to go anywhere and do anything via an integrated accessory range offering customers the perfect way to tailor their vehicles to meet specific needs. Dramatic engine hood scoops, side plates on the sports bar as well as a Safari Bar dials up the truck’s capability while ensuring it looks purposeful, capable and tough.

“This truck is in direct response to consumer’s desire to personalize their vehicles,” Simcoe said. “Not only does this integrated accessory range looks fantastic but our priority was to ensure they were, first and foremost, practical and useful additions that were perfect additions to the vehicle. Inspiration for the truck came from many sources, in particularly we looked at the US market where Chevrolet leads the way as far as truck design. By looking at the Xtreme it’s clear that the North American market influenced many of the styling cues. The end result is a serious pick up with no compromise.”

The Xtreme’s stunning matte orange hero color, “Furness”, gives the vehicle a unique and exciting persona, clearly differentiating it from its SUV sibling. The orange perfectly complementing the black, powered effect of the accents and accessories to give it an extreme graphic. Xtreme’s ruggedness continues inside with new auxiliary gauges and accessories such as a passenger grab handle on the side of the instrument panel and the inclusion of an inclinometer. Coupled with an innovative use of color, materials and texture, passengers remain safe and comfortable on those serious off road adventures.

No detail has gone unnoticed with the Xtreme boasting 18 inch full mud terrain tires, as well as technology at your fingertips. An eight inch color touch screen and the latest MyLink system equipped with the latest Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto connectivity technology, are designed to support the customers’ active lifestyle.

Highlights include:

  • Custom exterior paint – “Furnace”
  • Front Safari Bar with integrated LED bar & winch
  • Rear step with integrated corner step and tow bar
  • Large fender flares to compliment off-road tire package
  • 18 inch all terrain tires with custom bead locks
  • Integrated hood vent
  • Unique designed snorkel
  • Sports bar with styled in-fill panel
  • Integrated spoiler, CHMSL and whip antenna
  • Roof basket with integrated LED light bar
  • Custom tub liner:
    • Adjustable tie down tracks, extended to lift gate
    • Integrated spare wheel mount and tool holders
    • Custom spare wheel T-nut
  • Integrated Newton cap
  • New interior theme
  • 8 inch color touch screen equipped with the latest MyLink system
  • Integrated instrument panel handle bar
  • Integrated Pitch & Roll meter
  • Premium leather / fabric seat
  • Floor mat that compliment seat trim
  • High lift suspension
  • Roll Bar
  • Graphics pack
  • Emergency retrieval kit

Trailblazer Premier

The Trailblazer Premier is an SUV designed for families who love to escape off the beaten track but in the comfort of luxurious sophistication. With premium appointments this SUV is just as comfortable doing the school pick-up as it is tackling harsh and rugged terrain. “The brief was simple, we wanted to dial up the refinement to make sure the vehicle was as luxurious as it was capable,” Simcoe said. “Like every Chevrolet, the vehicle has head-turning good looks with striking Chevy DNA and global appeal.

"This show car is a result of strong collaboration to ensure we understood the demands of each market. Our research tells us customers, particularly in the Thai market, appreciate luxury, upmarket finishes and sophisticated detail. So our focus has been on ensuring we enrich the driver and passenger experience. Unlike the Colorado Xtreme, which is loud and tough, the Trailblazer Premier is subtle and softer in terms of color and materials, emphasized with the use of bright chrome and premium materials such as Australian timber which was hand-picked and crafted.”

With driver and passenger comfort at the forefront, the interior of the Trailblazer Premier ensures the trim and execution was taken to the next level. The unique use of colors, textures and materials create a premium feel not usually found in the segment. New trim techniques and processes such as the bespoke piping on the seat trims and the handmade netting on the back of the driver and front passenger seats all add to the tailored and premium feel of the vehicle. The silvery blue exterior color, “Velocity”, features smoky oil blue undertones, finished with a high gloss clear coat to give it an ultra-sleek and rich finished, particularly when paired up against bright chrome exterior décor accents.

Technology and connectivity remains critical, with both vehicles boasting a contemporary infotainment panel which houses the latest MyLink technology. The latest infotainment system allows customers to remain fully connected with access to a world of applications with the touch of a button or voice command.

Highlights include:

  • Custom exterior paint – “Velocity”
  • 22 inch wheel & tires
  • Rear spoiler
  • Rear fascia protector
  • Integrated side step with bright chrome molding.
  • New interior theme
  • 8 inch color touch screen equipped with the latest MyLink system
  • Premium leather seat with handmade netting
  • Wood door applique with steel inserts
  • Two tone instrument panel inserts with detailed stitch
  • Chrome details
  • Matching floor mats that compliment seat & instrument panel insert detailed stitch

The effervescent Force, who has 16 Funny Car titles on his resume and has won 141 races leading up to this 2015 season, made the announcement on a conference call. All three of the John Force Racing (JFR) Funny Car entries, for Force, Hight and daughter Courtney will be Chevrolet Camaro floppers. “This was an opportunity to go back to my roots,” bellowed Force, whose first 60 starts were behind the wheel of a Chevrolet product. From 1978-80 he raced a Corvette before switching to a Chevrolet Citation (1981-2), Camaro (1983-4), Corvette for 1985 and then a Cavalier the following year. He won the 1994 NHRA Funny Car title with a Chevrolet Lumina, posting a 50-8 record in 11 final rounds, with 10 victories and 12 No. 1 qualifiers.

Campbell, Chevrolet’s vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports said he’d been talking with the team for a while and interest grew within General Motors. He remarked that Force is “a a racer’s racer and a legend on and off the track. He’s a fierce competitor and we’re proud to welcome him back to Chevrolet.” Force had been working with Ford and Castrol for a long period of time but knew two years ago that the two long-time partners would be leaving. He announced the addition of Peak products at Las Vegas, the penultimate race on the schedule and revealed Lucas Oil as his lubricant partner during the Pomona finale. “These days you can’t race without a manufacturer,” Force stated. “We needed a major sponsor and people kept asking where we were going with a manufacturer. Everybody wanted me to stay with Detroit and GM was where I wanted to land,” he emphasized. “It’s a change and this change is good.”

The deal with Chevrolet was Force’s best holiday gift as the contract was signed just before Christmas. “My heart was with Detroit because John Force Racing is American-made. We build 90 percent of our cars here and this new relationship is right for us,” Force said. Despite rumors to the contrary, Force had no discussions with Dodge but he did talk with Toyota because he’s got friends in that company. “They have a big group of teams and drivers and we did have conversations but nothing was in writing or on the table. This is where I wanted to land,” he said. “The key is that we have Chevrolet to ourselves in Funny Car. The key is we’ve got an exclusive.”

When Ford announced its departure from NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, all of the emphasis went to John Force Racing’s three-car Funny Car team, along with Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson, who also race in the flopper class. After all, nitro-burners have all the glamour in drag racing, helped along by their crazy body styles and flaming exits from the start line, together with a propensity to blow up at the top end, heaving those crazy bodies to the sky. Little notice went to the Pro Stock class, arguably the most competitive in NHRA’s four-wheeled competition. Where the nitro cars all run pretty much the same equipment, in Pro Stock it’s every competitor for themselves and the secrets start long before the firewall of the car. While you can usually see other category members visiting their peers, the Pro Stock paddock is truly insular, with hardly anyone wandering into their competitors’ pit areas.

Larry Morgan changed from running a Dodge to being a Ford man several years ago. This swap was made easier by the efforts of Mose Nowland, who had been a key member of Ford’s engineering staff since the 1960s and who was spearheading Ford’s return to the Pro Stock wars. The duo got along famously and Larry assisted Ford in developing the program as they brought the Ford Mustang back to Pro Stock with the intent of returning to the glory days of Bob Glidden and other Ford Pro Stock heroes. He turned out to be the singular full-time competitor for the Ford Mustang through its current tenure; it was lonely for Morgan and his crew, particularly when Nowland was forced into retirement.

So when Ford announced it would be leaving - again - after the 2014 season, Larry Morgan had a quandary. He’d put lots of money into Ford parts and Ford ideology, as had his sponsors Lucas Oil and Streamlight. They’d done all they could to get to the top of the heap, but with only a one-car team competing against multiple-car squads and a budget that paled in comparison to his competitors, Morgan’s efforts got him into eliminations most of the time but rarely past the first or second rounds.