December 22, 2008

Automakers’ woes expected to impact NASCAR

The financial woes of Detroit automakers during the recession could result in a significant blow to the NASCAR racing circuit, experts say.

Auto industry analyst Peter De Lorenzo said with automakers seeking federal aid, the continuation of company contracts with NASCAR racing teams may become a near impossibility, USA Today reported Monday.

With Washington oversight, it'll be difficult going forward to write hefty checks to NASCAR. This could be the end of team contracts as we know them, he said. If the manufacturers go away completely, NASCAR's going to be truly hurting.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France supported a federal bailout of the auto industry in a letter to Congress this month, but he assured NASCAR fans the sport would survive.

But we won't live or die in a pullout or pullback, France said.

Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick agreed, telling USA Today that less involvement by automakers such as Ford and Chevrolet would not be an insurmountable issue.

Financially, it's not the lifeblood anymore. It's going to hurt if they're not there, but we'll adjust, he said.