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From Auto Extremist:

"by Ethanol Boy

Thinking The Unthinkable.

Detroit. It has come to our attention that serious discussions are taking place for the first time in the conference rooms of one domestic manufacturer in particular on a subject heretofore unthinkable in Detroit. The subject? Pulling out of NASCAR. Yes, it has been mentioned before, and I have predicted it for months now - ever since the announcement was made that Toyota would be buying its way into the France family circus - but we have confirmation that not only are the discussions taking place, they're so far down the road that a timetable for a pullout has been created, taking into account the end dates of existing contracts with individual racing teams currently aligned with this particular manufacturer.

The fact that it has finally come to this is no real surprise. Several years ago, we pieced together evidence that each of the Detroit-based car companies were spending in the neighborhood of $140 million each, annually, on their NASCAR endeavors. That figure accounts for engineering and wind-tunnel work, direct payments to the teams, personal services contracts with the drivers, promotional programs, race sponsorships, advertising, etc., etc. In the Big Picture of things, when multinational companies are spending double that amount for the "privilege" of competing in Formula 1, that would seem like no big deal, but taking into account the factors that matter most to the Detroit car companies right now, that dollar figure is a very big deal.

And what are those factors? Beyond the obvious pressures being generated by Detroit's dire financial straits, one thing in particular is driving these "pulling out of NASCAR" discussions to critical levels - and that is NASCAR's full-on push and investment in its much-hyped "Car of Tomorrow." The COT is NASCAR's new "spec" car, and it takes NASCAR's template philosophy to its logical conclusions. The COT could easily be called a "NASCAR Special" or whatever the marketing name that the hype-masters in Daytona Beach will want to call it, because any connection to what the manufacturers are producing has been well and truly broken. I contend, of course, that the connection was broken long ago, but the Detroit manufacturers have been clinging to a shred of a connection and amusing themselves with the annual massaging of their various models' grille openings, nose shapes and headlight decals.

Until now, anyway.

Now, the realization has finally sunk in for one manufacturer, apparently, and taking everything into account and putting everything on the table, there's no longer the blind allegiance to NASCAR at this company, which is a seismic shift if you know anything about this town's slavish devotion to all things NASCAR on and off for the last 50 years.

NASCAR has been living large off the Detroit car companies' cash trough for so long now that they don't even care anymore, as all sense of reality left the NASCAR offices in Daytona Beach and New York long ago. The NASCAR attitude goes something like this: If a Detroit manufacturer drops out, it's "whatever" - because Toyota is stepping up to the plate. And if another manufacturer drops out, no worries, because eventually we'll just market our own NASCAR "Specials" and then we won't have to pay any manufacturer rights fees ever again.

But for one particular Detroit manufacturer it's no longer "whatever" - and messing with the sanctity of the NASCAR budget is no longer unthinkable - it's very real, very calculated and very imminent.

This Detroit manufacturer has decided that if it competes in motorsports in the future, it will only compete in three basic areas: 1. In production-based racing series that by rule and specification retain more than a passing resemblance to the cars they sell and the competitors they compete against in showrooms. 2. "Technical" efforts, in other words, engine programs for open-wheel and prototype racing series, but stopping short of Formula 1. And 3. Developing an effort to compete for the overall victory at Le Mans. Any other efforts, grass-roots racing, drag racing, etc., would be covered as the need and budget allow.

This particular manufacturer has finally come to the stark realization that their NASCAR involvement has done more for NASCAR than anything else. NASCAR exists for its benefit and profitability first and foremost - everything else is secondary to that fundamental premise. The relentless hype of NASCAR and its sponsors by NASCAR itself and its enablers at the TV networks has resulted in dramatically diminished returns for the participating manufacturers - and pretending that NASCAR's popularity has done wonders for these car companies in the showrooms amounts to the Big Lie. The fact of the matter is that the increase in the popularity of NASCAR over the last ten years has seen a corresponding decrease in the participating domestic manufacturers sales fortunes. And there's not one NASCAR-sponsored survey that can possibly suggest otherwise, no matter how hard they try to "cook" the numbers.

Immersed in a battle for the hearts and minds of American consumers, this manufacturer has finally taken the blinders off and decided that the blind devotion to all things NASCAR has run its course and now must come to a stop.

In other words, the $140 million that was previously earmarked for NASCAR, will be put to very good use.

Stay tuned, because we'll have more on this story in the coming weeks."

Hope they all quit, NASCAR has outlived it's 15 minutes. Who knows, if they get rid of the manufacturers they might have to race again.

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Didn't Chrysler leave nascar completely for a while? They only came back with the final generation Intrepid.

I hope it's GM. $140 million a year is a bit much. They certainly aren't getting the returns in the form of Impala or Grand Prix sales.

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I'm not a big fan of NASCAR but I do like the expose Chevy gets out of it. I would be disgusted if GM were to drop out and Toyota or another foreign company replaced them. I don't have a calculator handy but I think GM could get 140 million in sales from all the expose they get.

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Personally if GM quit and then decided to go win LeMans, I'm all for it.

Winning LeMans once would mean far more than winning every single NASCAR race for a year. Besides, Cadillac has a score to settle.

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Didn't Chrysler leave nascar completely for a while? They only came back with the final generation Intrepid.

I hope it's GM. $140 million a year is a bit much.  They certainly aren't getting the returns in the form of Impala or Grand Prix sales.

Maybe not Impala GP or Monte Carlo sales but think of the expose the Chevy name gets, the commercials,pace cars etc. Tons of NASCAR fans drive Chevy pick ups.

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Maybe not Impala GP or Monte Carlo sales but think of the expose the Chevy name gets, the commercials,pace cars etc. Tons of NASCAR fans drive Chevy pick ups.

But Chevy doesn't need exposure, everyone has heard of it. If they haven't bought a Chevy yet, Nascar wont change that.

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I'm guessing that people who watch Nascar are a lot more inclined to buy a domestic car than those who don't. GM's money would be better spent giving the G6 a new interior or giving the Lucerne a new nose.

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I think it could be either Dodge or GM, probably not Ford since they took teh time to pay NASCAR to have the "Fusion" race in the series. It could be Dodge cuz of the aero problems they have with the "Charger" but it could be GM, since Dodge is at least profitable and has the money to toss at NASCAR, whereas GM is desperately trying to save cash, and there hasn't be a new "entry" into NASCAR in a while anyway, I think.

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None of which get nearly the exposure as NASCAR. GM was foolish enough when they threw decades of Pontiac history in the toilet when they pulled that marque out of NASCAR. GM wouldn't do something that stupid twice. My guess is it's Dodge since they are having problems with the aero on the Charger.

The only stupid decision is the continuation of tossing money down the $h!hole that IS NASCAR.

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Umm - companies don't invest money to get the same money back in sales. They invest it to make a profit. Otherwise you might as well put the money in the bank and have them pay interest.

I'm not a big fan of NASCAR but I do like the expose Chevy gets out of it. I would be disgusted if GM were to drop out and Toyota or another foreign company replaced them. I don't have a calculator handy but I think GM could get 140 million in sales from all the expose they get.

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once they change to that car of tomorrow crap there is absolutely zero reason for anyone to be there.

nascar sells nascar. not chevy. not ford. not even dodge.

they got what they want, everybody else got jack-sh^t.

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Personally, I think NASCAR is stupid. Where's the fun in watching a bunch of cars going in circles for like 5 hours? The only things worth watching are the crashes, and they aren't even that great. Now Le Mans, GT, Rally, even Drifting...those are cool races to watch.

Edited by Dodgefan

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The typical NASCAR fan today, has no idea what kind of cars they are driving. Only cares about the drivers and sponsors. They root for the "Tide car" or Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr.

The drivers are all wanting to go on Late Nite TV shows, do big budget ads, and be a celeb. The sponsors aim at 'regular folk' and kids such as Tide, Kellogg's, and M&M's.

Bet at NASCAR race track parking lots, there are probably lots of Camrys and Accords.

When the first racing "Taurus" was shown and it looked nothing like the real car, I was over it.

Edited by Chicagoland

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Good! Nascar deserves exactly this. I hope they all pull out. Nascar Died with Earnhardt.

NASCAR died sometime in the 1980s, when the cars began being templates with different grille decals.

Give me 1962 and I'm there. Otherwise, I'll be out in my shop building my drag Buick.

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If ypu like NASCAR or not it has done it's job for years to fill the standfs and make close racing. People in the State could care less abut technical items they want good old close racing.

I have been a fan for a long tine and started watching in the ABC WIde World Of Sports. [God I hated skating] and watched the races tape delayed and only 15 Min segments.

I have not been happy with NASCAR since the 80's and only held on as a Dale Sr fan.

The problem is great not just cars made to run alike but the cost and big buisness greed has taken over. Many in NASCAR today have forgoten the past like Pearson, Cale and COO COO. Brian France is killing the Sport by milking every dollar and not giving anything back.

Any way I might be wrong but I had someone out of Detroit tell me this same topic a few weeks back. I did not believe him but he indicated it is Ford.

He told me Ford is very up set with things and I know they threatened to leave a while back if Toyota's cost are not controled. The details he gave me and info line up if it is accurate.

Now what got me thinking is word Pontiac many return to NASCAR?? I don't believe they will but if Ford bails and Roush is publicly playing with Pontiacs what is the connection. I also heard Jack was going to get into drag Racing again and Pontiac is king there so it might have somthing to do with that to? Jack has never publicly tied his name to another company publicly in racing because of Ford out side IRL where he built Olds engines for Foyt.

The only thing for sure is if Toyotas spending is not controled NASCAR will fail like CART and IRL with the lack of faqctory support. It this what Bruton Smith has been waiting for?

Also watch for the Bush series to look at the Charger. Camaro and Mustang. Nothing planned yet and it would be a few years if they did but they are looking.

Only time will tell us what is really going on. We should know by the 600.

One last note where will America's best driver go. Tony will not fit in a Indy car anymore and unless AJ has some of the wide bodys left?

I just pray Tony can get IROC to run Eldora next year. I would love to see top drivers on dirt in those cars. Tony has made a Million dollar offer if he wins IROC this year the owners can keep the Million if they would come to Eldora.

Edited by hyperv6

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