NASCAR unveils new K&N Pro Series car at 2014 SEMA show

Mike Helton helps show off the new NASCAR K&N Pro Series car at the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nev. 

Ethan Miller

Over the last 10 years, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has grown into NASCAR’s top developmental series — a proving ground for tomorrow’s stars. Tuesday at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, NASCAR introduced the series’ newest innovation designed to help prepare drivers to compete at motorsports’ highest level.

NASCAR President Mike Helton and a trio of drivers representing the new wave of young talent surging through the sport unveiled the new NASCAR K&N Pro Series body at the Las Vegas Convention Center, home to the automotive industry’s largest annual event. Each year more than 100,000 industry executives, buyers, influencers and car enthusiasts attend the SEMA Show.

Assisting Helton in introducing the car body were NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and 2012 K&N Pro Series East champion Kyle Larson, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and K&N Pro Series East team owner Ben Kennedy, and 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion and Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ben Rhodes. The announcement was streamed live on Fanschoice.tv.

The body, a game-changing leap forward for the K&N Pro Series, is made from a state-of-the-art composite laminate blend and was developed in partnership with Five Star Race Car Bodies, a long-term NASCAR contingency sponsor.

"The new K&N Pro Series body represents a major win for the teams, the fans, and the racing industry as a whole," said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president, racing operations for NASCAR. "This will give our emerging talent the opportunity to gain more valuable, relevant racing experience, and our fans and industry partners will appreciate the car’s similarity in appearance to both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars and street models."

The new body’s modular design allows teams to easily install and repair damaged panels, and is expected to cut labor costs associated with body maintenance by up to 50 percent. The body is eligible for competition beginning in the 2015 season and is mandated as the only approved body in the series in 2017.

It will be available in all three manufacturer models: Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry. The final season for the steel bodies is 2015, and the current one-piece composite body will be phased out after the 2016 season. The new body will also be eligible for competition in the ARCA Racing Series beginning in 2015.

"We are proud of our involvement in the introduction of the new NASCAR K&N Pro Series body," said Carl Schultz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Five Star Race Car Bodies. "This body is at the forefront of modern advanced composites, utilizing technological advances in material laminates and manufacturing processes. All of this would not be possible without the great teamwork and cooperation of every person involved. We would like to thank NASCAR for this great opportunity and look forward to building our relationship into the future."