GM Troubles Hit NASCAR

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BROOKLYN, Mich. - The economic problems of the country's automobile manufacturers are starting to impact the NASCAR world with General Motors announcing plans to cut back support of stock car racing in the coming weeks.

The company informed Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series teams Friday it would discontinue support effective immediately as part of GM's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing. That decision has sent shock waves through the NASCAR garage area with many believing similar moves will come to the top level Sprint Cup Series sooner rather than later.

"Kevin Harvick Inc. has lost its manufacturer support," KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick said in a statement released Friday. "Although this will require some internal restructuring, our commitment to our sponsors to provide the best possible product on the race track will not change."

KHI fields teams in both the Nationwide and truck series.

JR Motorsports is another operation that will feel the brunt of GM's decision to end support however the Nationwide Series team doesn't see it as the end of its operation.

"We are fully capable of adjusting our business model to accommodate this change, and with the backing of Hendrick Motorsports, we will continue to lend our full support to Chevrolet," said the team's GM Kelly Earnhardt.

"The manufacturer support GM provides at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level is more critical in nature than in the Nationwide Series, and I hope Chevy is able to continue supporting that level, as the promotion of NASCAR works well for its demographics."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is hoping his team can find other ways to sustain its operation with the loss of factory support.

“We’ll be able to do some unique programs with our sponsors and future partners to try to cover that expense,” he said. “I personally in no way feel like it’s changing my relationship or my perception toward Chevrolet and how I’ll work with them in the future.”

But others aren't so sure Chevrolet and GM will be able to stay in the sport given the financial strains. Based on the company's statement that would seem to be apparent.

Chevrolet spokesman Terry Rhadigan said, “Our discussions are indeed NASCAR-wide."

Race Center

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