A recent CNN poll found that 61 percent of people opposed the bailout for the Big Three. Those 61 percent better not be fans of NASCAR because the sport that has been on the verge of cementing itself in the Big Four of sports is warning that a failure to help the automotive industry could set back the sport 30 years.
All of the sudden the ubiquitous staples- Chevy, Ford, and Dodge- could be missing from the track. General Motors has already ended its sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods to save money and is hinting that it could cut into the company’s financial investment in NASCAR.
The ominous crying from the car industry and racing officials is most likely a bit of a hyperbole, but the truth is that when a major company cuts a profitable association with a transcendent celebrity like Tiger it means the company is serious about trimming its budget.
The exact extent of damage to the sponsorship deals, the marketing, and every other money-making scheme in NASCAR is not known, but track owners are suddenly worried for the first time in years. The annual sellouts could be put in jeopardy as ticket prices could increase without support from the automotive industry.
This may not be an issue that affects the diehard football fans in New York or the celebrity spectators in Los Angeles, but families that have been making trips to Daytona International Speedway for years or plan get together around the Ford 400 could find they can no longer afford to see those events live.
If stereotypes hold true here, it puts the conservative fans in a bind. Do they follow their politics and oppose such big government intervention at the risk of watching the big race from the couch or do they keep their weekend travel plans and see the dollar and the economy suffer the consequences of deflation? My guess is that the South rises again around the issue and secedes from the Union with proclamation at Darlington Raceway to kick off the Southern 500.