The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland : Time To Get The Manufacturers Out of NASCAR by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday July 10, 2008

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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 percent of its value in the last nine months and is trading at an all time 54 year low. Fifty-four years people! That’s almost BEFORE NASCAR was ‘invented’!

Ford Motor Company stock has lost almost 50 percent 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 percent? 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!

Why are Toyota sales still strong while the “Big 3” automakers continue to flounder? It is all due to Kyle Busch’s success — what wins on Sunday, sells on Monday.

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.

“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 mid-season 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 ¾ 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 70’s. 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

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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07/10/2008 02:28 AM

Well, you are right here. These cars are all the same. And it is very sad. Gone are the days with stock cars. Nascar is becoming more and more like the IRL. Same cars, same engines. Little difference. May as well watch IRL. Very sad day when Toyota came in. I said give them 3 yrs and they will win a championship. Ooops I was off a year. If you look at the IRL they are all oversea engines and the like. So long Nascar.

Mike The Insane One
07/10/2008 03:13 AM

It’s little more than a glorified IROC or spec series as it is. Just wait. It’ll get worse.

If somebody started a series with actual stock cars again, they’d have a hit on their hands. I think Matt covered that pretty well.

07/10/2008 07:52 AM

Well said Jeff!. Now just sit back and watch the fall of nascrap. will the last one to leave please turn out the lights?

Henry Ford
07/10/2008 08:06 AM

Jeff you are right the time has come: for you to leave NASCAR and Reporting to real Journalists….. So please just leave and .. remeber to turn off the lights.

07/10/2008 08:52 AM

Ignorant management, boring designers, arrogant assemblers…yep, a recipe for disaster. So long big 3, you gave us one heck of a century, but, you’re going the way of the dinosaurs as the asteroid of foreign descent put your butt down. The most troubling of all of this is the fact that they could have learned their lesson in the mid-70’s. They didn’t, so here we are.

Bring on IROC2 for 2009, we might as well get it over with.

Larry Burton
07/10/2008 02:18 PM

I’m afraid the day is coming when Nascar will be like IROC. Even big stars can’t save it then. The COT has not done anything but improve safety in my opinion. The difference between the haves and the have nots is bigger than ever and Nascar said the COT was going to narrow that gap. Want to cut costs? You don’t have unlimited testing which is what Nascar is considering. In fact, bar all testing at any track-nascar sanctioned are not. This would definitely help on expenses. And, if Nascar completly takes out the manufacturers it will hurt them even more. I firmly believe Toyotas winning this year has something to do with some of them empty seats. Sure, you can blame the economy and gas prices but I am still a fan of a vehicle make. The COT has taken some of that away. If Nascar takes the vehicle makes out of it then this goes against everything that Nascar was founded on. Most people don’t want to see forty three generic cars racing but want to see some identity with a brand of cars. Nascar says they want to get their core fans back, well you not going to get them with a generic car/engine. Again, I don’t think them empty seats are caused by the economy alone. And, to hear Brian France talk, everything is great in Nascar when in fact it is not. Everyone tried to tell Teresa Earnhardt about letting Jr. leave and what would happen and now we are beginning to see the results with rumors of DEI being sold. Everyone was giving her credit for making DEI what it is but in fact she will go down in history as making one of the biggest mistakes in Nascar. This looks like where Nascar is going with Brian France in control. He keeps telling us the racing is so good and far the teams and drivers to quit complaining when us fans can see for ourselves that the racing is not that good.

07/10/2008 05:30 PM

i agree with some of what u said but!! the big three was makin what we was buyin so they have us to blame for the gas guzzlin suv’s and limited fuel economy cars. as u said dont they remeber the 70’s? wel duh yeah and back then no one wanted small cars to small unsafe to cramped i remember but of course if we wasnt to fat and to lazy they wouldnt have seem so small then or now!but i hope the big 3 pull thru and we all learn from it cuz we are all to blame!!

07/14/2008 06:41 PM

I also hope the big three survive and I think they will. I have always pulled for the car first and driver second. I am a 69 year old loyal FORD fan and win or loose, I will always be a FORD fan. I have never agreed with Nascar’s rubber rule book because they can be changed at any time. I don,t like Toyota winning all the races anymore than I would like Chevy or Dodge winning all the races. Nascar is thinking about changing the rules for the Toyota engine for parity sake and this is not right. GM wants to use their Sprint Cup engine in the Nationwide series and FORD is developing a new engine for Nascar use. I don’t think any manufacturer should be handicapped because they are winning the most races. Like we all know, we aren’t racing stock cars anymore but whether they be Indy cars or Nascar cars, the rules should be the same for all. That said, there are only two engine rules needed,cubic inches and size of carburetor, I know that is over simplified, but the engine design should belong to each manu-facturer not Nascar. How can it be a true Manufacturer’s Champ-ionship if Nascar designs the engines for all brands? Nobody will have bragging rights then and the big show will stink even more. If the so called BIG THREE do pull out of racing this is one 69 year old FORD fan that will be watching golf, mowing the grass or something. If and when Ford gets it’s new engine, I hope they’ll be able to win a few more races!


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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