Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: Time to Get the Manufacturers Out of NASCAR

Wow! That’s a pretty bold headline! But the time has come to be honest with ourselves. Time to call a spade a spade. Time to open your eyes and actually see what your eyes are looking at every week. Time to stop being a narrow-minded automotive bigot! Time to admit that it IS going to happen down the road, so we might as well embrace it and not stupidly act all surprised about it later. You are smarter than that.

Consider some facts: GM stock has lost 75% of its value in the last nine months and is trading at an all time 54-year low. 54 years people! That’s almost BEFORE NASCAR was ‘invented’!

Ford Motor Company stock has lost almost 50% of its value in the last three months! What have you got if you give them the benefit of the doubt for six more months and it loses another 50%? You’ve got nothing!

Chrysler LLC is expected to file for bankruptcy (AGAIN) or be sold off in little pieces, and doesn’t even warrant mentioning!

How did this all happen? I will tell you. The people running the automakers in this country are idiots! It just snuck up on them!

“This is going on 10 weeks where we’re seeing this not get any better,” said Mark Fields, head of Ford’s American operations, speaking of skyrocketing sub-compact sales and plummeting pick-up sales. “So we’d better act, and we’d better act now.”

GM is no better.

“We need to get in front of it,” said GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis. “If you wait too long on it, the pain would get a lot worse.”

Toyota… well Toyota is totally kicking the living snot out of both of them and is making a profit! Why? I will tell you why!

It’s all because Kyle Busch has been winning so much this season, and that when he wins on Sunday, the sales of Camrys skyrocket on Mondays! I’m dead serious here folks. You think I’m joking, but I am not. All three of the automakers have told us that for years. So therefore, that must be why Toyota is the number one seller on the streets today.

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“They have repeatedly told us that their longstanding positions in NASCAR work well. And they’ve got to market their products, whatever their products are going to be. This is a place where they come and get to actually be part of the sport in a way that’s so unique and so different than any other sport,” said NASCAR Super Genius and CEO, Brian France during a recent midseason interview.

“Obviously, with their challenges come reviews and everything else, and we’ll have to see how that goes. It would be… we’ll just have to see. Those are the kind of decisions that they’ll need to make. Wish they were more healthy. Think that they will be at some point.”

But hey folks, don’t be dismayed about GM’s woes, even if you own some of their stock. Things will be alright.

According to Alba Colon, GM’s racing program director for the Cup series, GM plans to fully fund in 2009 their racing program same as always. Well, maybe they might cut down on some of the sponsorships of some of the tracks, but other than that, maintain the status quo.

Your stock has lost three-quarters of its value in less than a year, and you want to spend how many millions on racing a car that, aside from having Chevy decals on it, is no different than the rest of the cars? With thinking like that, it’s no wonder ALL of the executives at GM aren’t named Colon because that is where their head seems to be stuck!

People, I don’t like it anymore than you do. I long for the days when you could see a real Monte Carlo or a Charger or a Torino out tearing up the asphalt, but it isn’t ever going to happen again!

We already have identical cars in NASCAR! What the hell do you think a ‘template’ is used for? A template is used to establish a pattern. What do you need a pattern for? So you can make things exactly the same, EVERYTIME! The only thing in NASCAR that a manufacturer, whoever it may be, has ANY say in is the engine, and even there, not much!

Dodge, Chevy and Ford are doomed because they never remembered the oil embargo of the early ’70s. What did they think was going to happen? They could have been producing high efficiency products for years now, like the foreign guys, but instead you got a Ford Expedition!

We already are in the kit CoT age of NASCAR! Why is that so hard for people to believe? What is going to happen when any one, or all, of the ‘Big 3’ drop out of NASCAR? Will Nissan or Porsche want in? What kind of reaction will that have with the fans? I mean, my God! Some people are still as upset about Toyota’s presence in NASCAR as some Southerners are about losing the Civil War!

If NASCAR truly wants to survive in the coming years, the time has come to go strictly with pre-spec cars (already here) and pre-spec (or ‘crate’) engines.

NASCAR could own the company that builds the engines and sell them to the teams. Hire engineers from all four automakers (lots of candidates from three of them) to design and build the engines and call it good. If you want to race NASCAR, that’s what you race!

Wake up people! We are already there!

And what would happen in a situation, say like with Tony Stewart? Tony has been unhappy with the JGR switch to Toyota. He is a self-professed Chevy man. If we had total ‘kit CoTs’ racing today, would Tony be leaving JGR? It would be a moot point (other than his ownership desires). At any rate, what we would have is racing! Pure and simple racing, with the talent of the driver being the main factor.

Like I said, I’m not necessarily thrilled it has come to this, but don’t be stupid! We are already there!

And for the record, for some of the more dense folk out there… Kyle Busch could be winning in a Dodge and they would STILL file for bankruptcy!

Stay off the wall, but open your eyes!

Jeff Meyer

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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