AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: The Experts Choose the Best Racing Series

February 26th, 2008 at 9:00am

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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There are so many different types of motor racing in this country, if you’re a car company, which ones do you want to be involved with?

Mark Kent, the head of motor racing at General Motors and Dan Davis, the head of racing at Ford in North America say stock car racing in the United States is strong and healthy. Yes, they concede, television ratings and attendance at NASCAR races are down, but they’re still so high you’ve got to participate as a car company.

They say open wheel racing, like the Indianapolis Racing League is hanging on by a thread. And they like sports car racing like the American Le Mans series, but it doesn’t get much coverage or attendance.

They say Formula One is caught up in too much politics. And the GM and Ford execs say drag racing in America is coming on strong, which they like because the fans are really engaged, and they tend to buy Big Three brands.


One Comment to “AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: The Experts Choose the Best Racing Series”

  1. Tom Martin Says:

    It’s important and expensive to be involved in Nascar.

    It’s also important to support drag racing, but “drag racing” is a generic term, like “stock car” racing. There’s NHRA, AHRA, Outlaw, and other leagues.

    Car manufacturers don’t need to sponsor “factory cars” in these series, like they used to do in the 1970′s, but they need to build cars that can be used in drag racing, e.g. Ford Mustang, and have after market upgrades, e.g. from SVT, or TRD.

    U.S. manufacturers have largely been relying on their past products, and have not recently built products for drag racing. Can’t see the Chrysler 300, Ford Focus, or the Pontiac G6 being viewed at drag cars. This may change with the Challenger and G8.

    U.S. manufacturers have also been slow in developing small performance cars.

    So, U.S. manufacturers may give lip service to supporting drag racing, but I don’t see it in the products that they offer. Ford, with the Mustang, is the exception, and Ford keeps coming out with faster, better versions and there’s thousands of aftermarket performance goods for the Mustang.