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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-29-2007, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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NASCAR starting to feel automakers' pain

From the Detroit Free Press:

NASCAR starting to feel automakers' pain

January 29, 2007
BY CHRIS JENKINS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CONCORD, N.C. -- When asked about Ford Motor Co.'s announcement that it lost a record $12.7 billion last year, the director of Dodge's racing program cringes as if he just swallowed a swig of motor oil.

These aren't the best of times for the U.S. auto industry, and the effects are starting to trickle down to NASCAR. Folks in the team shops sprinkled throughout suburban Charlotte, N.C., are worried about tightening their belts -- and not just the ones on their engines.

Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge Motorsports and SRT Product Planning, said teams must start finding ways to become more efficient.
"I've always contended that if it's a money-burning contest, you've got the wrong partner," Accavitti said. In an attempt to stop long-standing rumors that Dodge is considering pulling out of NASCAR, Accavitti made a firm public commitment to the sport during NASCAR's preseason media tour Thursday.
"Dodge is here to stay," he said.

But not for a spending spree.
At a time when NASCAR teams are making major increases to their research and development budgets to deal with changes in the sport, asking automakers to chip in even more money is a tough sell.

"It's hard to get more because let's face it: Right now, business is not great," said Dodge team owner Ray Evernham.

Evernham certainly could use the money. He and other teams are developing the so-called Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR's new chassis design that could be more cost-effective for teams in the long run but is costing them millions to design and build right now.

Evernham also must keep an eye on Toyota, which is entering its first year in the Nextel Cup and has caused widespread concern that it will drive up the cost of racing.

In response, Evernham said Dodge has redistributed some of its racing budget, spending less on advertising and more on research and development.
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