NASCAR meets with manufacturers

NASCAR held a “town hall” style meeting with its manufacturers – Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota – in Detroit on Tuesday.

The five-hour summit, which was described by both sides as “very productive” with “an open exchange," is expected to be the first of many where marketing and competition ideas are shared between the sanctioning body and its automotive partners.

NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell characterized the gathering as an “opportunity to grow (the) sport working together. (There’s a) high interest in leveraging NASCAR on their new cars.”

O’Donnell and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton offered a brief update on the 2013 Sprint Cup car models and the decision behind restructuring points. In addition, computer-aided design photos of one of the 2013 cars were compared to the 2012 street car for the same manufacturer, highlighting an effort to return to the showroom influence.

But the focus was geared more toward the current state of the sport and building NASCAR through its new integrated marketing and communications department. Several new NASCAR hires were introduced to the 16 manufacturer representatives in attendance. Data from marketing surveys was shared with the partners as was an outline of NASCAR’s objectives moving forward.

The manufacturers offered their input as well, including incorporating more brand identity with the cars on the track and the desire for more of a green initiative.