Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bad News: GM Cuts Support For Camping World/Nationwide Teams

You can shove your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and refuse to acknowledge the inevitable for only so long. But that doesn't keep the inevitable from happening.

Word broke today that General Motors is cutting its factory support for Chevy teams in both NASCAR Camping World and Nationwide Series. This is depressing news for a sport which is also suffering from lower ticket sales, lack of sponsorship and still reeling from a round of 2008 layoffs.

Although some folks, like Rick Hendrick, have publicly said they think General Motors will be all right in the end, I've got to believe that anyone involved with a Chevy race team entertains private doubts.

With the stimulus money long spent and Chapter 11 underway, General Motors must save money where it can. And it would be difficult for the company to justify spending dollars it doesn't have on its NASCAR investment. Especially when it's laying off employees left and right, shutting down plants and operating on a wing and a prayer.

Early news is that the teams most likely to be affected by the cuts will be Kevin Harvick, Inc., JR Motorsports (owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Rick Hendrick) and Rusty Wallace Racing -- all three of which are owned by current or one-time Cup drivers.

What's not yet clear is how much less GM will be contributing to these race teams. Hopefully "cutting back" doesn't mean "cutting off."

So far, there's nothing to indicate that the cuts will affect Chevy teams in the Sprint Cup series.

But time, as always, will tell.


  1. I think the Camping World Truck Series is doomed, and the Nationwide Series will have to go to the lab to figure out another way of surviving -- without manufacturer support. Eventually I think it will hit the Sprint Cup series, the last and biggest domino in the line. But it's really a branding issue, don't you think? Those race cars and trucks have manufacturer logos but bear almost no resemblance any more to the real deal. As the auto companies die or merge, the cache of driving a Chevy or a Dodge (faded a good bit already since Toyotas entered the fray) will eventually wash away. I suspect team owners will eventually replace manufacturer as how a car is recognized. And there probably will be a Big Three or Four of owners -- Hendrick, Childress, Roush Fenway, Joe Gibbs -- instead of Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and Toyota. IMHO.

  2. Apparently it IS going to hit the Sprint Cup series...per today's news. I agree about branding though-you can't tell the cars apart. Kind of mimics the loss of American identity in general--all the towns look the same now: Walgreen's on every corner and a two Walmarts per block.