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GM may be backing off its commitment to racing

June 12, 2009

GM may be backing off its commitment to racing


BROOKLYN, Mich. — Is General Motors Corp. pulling its support from the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series?

Word today at Michigan International Speedway is that Chevy may be out of both series soon from a factory standpoint or reduce its monetary and technical support.

The Meijer 300 Nationwide race will be held at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, while the Camping World Michigan 200 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at MIS.

Asked if he knew of GM’s intentions, truck points leader Matt Crafton, who runs the No. 88 Menards Chevrolet for Thorsport Racing, said: “I’m racing Saturday, and next week … I’ll race like it’s my first race. I’m proud to be in a Chevrolet; it’s good to be driving a race truck. On the other subject, I’ll talk to my crew chief.”

A statement provided to the Free Press from a Chevrolet motorsports spokesman at the track did not confirm or deny the auto manufacturers’ future plans in the series.

It said: “Chevrolet’s involvement in racing is a sound business decision that translates into the sale of cars and trucks. It is essential, however, that we continue to look at every penny we spend as General Motors takes the necessary steps to become a leaner company with a significantly stronger balance sheet.

“While Chevy racing is talking to its business partners about ways to reduce cost and maximize the return of investment, it is our policy not to talk about the details of business relationships with our partners.”

NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter spoke to the Free Press on today’s rumors.

“It’s not secret GM is going through serious restructuring,” said Hunter. “How it will affect NASCAR — we don’t know. I would expect you’ll still see Chevys (in the series) on the race track. In the short-term, we don’t expect it to have serious effects; in the long-term, NASCAR doesn’t have answers to that.”

It is believed GM will also review its relationship with their Sprint Cup teams next week as the company continues to look at its involvement in NASCAR.

“We dealing with a totally different economic environment than ever before,” said Hunter. “Companies are going to have to develop new business models and so will our race teams. But over the years, they have been very adaptable, and very ingenious at finding ways to compete.”


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