France: Don't expect more foreign automakers soon
Other manufacturers may be welcome in NASCAR racing, but don't expect new entries into the top three touring series any time soon, says NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.
France said three weeks ago at Michigan that the sanctioning body was open to working with foreign automakers. Factory support to the sport from American automakers has diminished in a floundering economy, and recent Chrysler and General Motors reorganizations under government supervision have limited the manufacturers' ability to provide cash and technology to race teams.
Toyota currently competes in all three series — Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck — but France said bringing another foreign car maker into NASCAR racing would be a long-term project. Current rules require manufacturers to race cars built in the United States, as is Toyota's Camry.
"Our policy and our views haven't really changed," France said Friday at Daytona International Speedway during his traditional mid-year meeting with the media. "Some of the opportunities for a new manufacturer to come into NASCAR probably have changed. Obviously, there are teams that were getting direct support or were affiliated with one manufacturer or another that are available now. So that is a fact.
"We have been talking, and we have routinely, because we are open, as we demonstrated with Toyota — which worked well, under the right approach that's unique to NASCAR — for a manufacturer to come in and compete at one of our national divisions. That policy remains open. It is not something that happens easily or overnight.
"... I do not anticipate — there's absolutely nothing imminent that we will be announcing that somebody will be joining or any of that. But do I see more interest because there's more opportunity? Sure. We see that, and we're fielding the kinds of questions and evaluation that you would think under the circumstances."