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Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More foreign carmakers coming to NASCAR? Stranger things have happened

This week, as news predictably broke about General Motors reducing its financial support of the Cup series, including top teams like Hendrick and Stewart-Haas, another little item slipped through the cracks.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France said that NASCAR has been speaking with foreign carmakers that build their vehicles in the U.S about competing in NASCAR in the future.

For those NASCAR fans who hate the fact Toyota is in the sport, smoke is already rising from their ears upon the mention of this announcement. But the harsh reality of the auto industry will dictate what happens, not angry fans.

Anyone with eyes has seen GM and Chrysler going through a hellish couple of years, while the Japanese automakers have held up a little better during this recession.

Even before this recession, Toyota was gaining on GM for a long, long time in terms of market share, and they have expanded their global presence, including here in America.

A fresh wound was inflicted when it came out this week that Hendrick, Stewart-Haas, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Richard Childress Racing are all going to be getting less support from GM, and who knows how deep the knife will go later. Richard Petty Motorsports has laid off some employees and said Dodge is slow with the checks lately. Ford is in the best shape, but it’s not guaranteed a bright future.

Hendrick insists GM is committed to racing, but there remains a doomsday scenario lurking in the shadows: What if one or all three U.S. carmakers decided to pull completely out the sport, and not help any team with anything? GM is owned by the government now, so it might not even be their choice whether they stick around in NASCAR in any meaningful capacity.

In this doomsday scenario, the teams would need to switch to some other make … and that means a company like Honda, or perhaps a German automaker like Volkswagen, would have an opportunity to step up and transition into the series.

Will it come to that? I don’t think so. It’s very difficult to enter a series like NASCAR, just look at the Dodge re-entry as an example. Tony Stewart has said teams will have to be a bit more frugal for now, and hope the economic conditions improve so GM can resume helping out more.

A lot of what NASCAR officials say is b.s., but don’t shove this one aside yet. There’s a lot of money to be made in NASCAR, so it would be foolish to think other carmakers don’t want a piece of the action.
If a catastrophe happens, they might be right there to take advantage.

Less horsepower?
Voices are growing in support of NASCAR cutting the horsepower in Cup cars, which some people claim will lead to more side-by-side racing, and better shows overall. I’m no mechanical expert, so I’m not going to back the idea or bash it, but I do know this: If it really will give the fans a better show and create closer racing, the feasibility of implementing this idea should at least be studied.

Another idea that was tossed out is to put restrictor plates on the cars at Michigan and California, which I find just plain silly. This year’s Talladega race showed us how dangerous that style of racing can be, and we should be working to get rid of plates, not add more races where they are used.

ARCA honoring Tim Richmond this weekend
The Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA-RE/MAX 200 will be run this weekend in Mansfield, Ohio. Richmond, unknown to many new fans because of NASCAR’s hush-hush attitude about him. (They don’t ever want to bring up the guy who died of AIDS, the same guy they railroaded with a fake failed drug test. During his illness, Richmond was suspended indefinitely for testing positive for banned substances, and NASCAR later admitted Sudafed and Advil were the only drugs he had in his system. Real class move there.).

It’s too bad they never mention his name and pretend he never existed. Richmond had some fierce battles with Dale Earnhardt, and would’ve been one of the all-time greats and a likely champion if his love of the fast lane and “pit lizards” hadn’t gotten the best of him.


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