YAKIMA, Wash. -- One of the sports world’s shortest offseasons is nearly over, as the roar of engines returns to Daytona International Speedway for the season-opening Daytona 500.

Sunday’s race will be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points-paying race to feature the new “Generation 6” race car.

What makes the new cars different is that they actually look different; the Chevrolets, Fords and Toyotas now look like Chevrolets, Fords and Toyotas.

The new models feature bodywork that’s reminiscent of what’s actually available (or soon-to-be available, in the case of Chevrolet) to consumers on the showroom floor.

Chevrolet’s entry, the SS, will be available late this year, according to the manufacturer’s website.

There is also one fewer manufacturer this season.

There will be no Dodge entries in the Sprint Cup Series this season, after the carmaker’s lone 2012 team, Penske Racing, switched to Ford for this season.

Other differences for this season include the driver’s last name (or first and last names in the case of the Busch brothers) on the top of the windshield, helping newer and casual fans identify drivers a little easier.

• What do you think about the new car? Who do you think is going to win the race or season championship? Share your views in the comments below.