NASCAR has not been a stranger to rumors regarding their ambition to land more manufacturers, and a recent interview gives fans new hope.
With the debut of the Next Gen (Gen 7) Cup Series car, NASCAR has made it clear that their goal is to attract more manufacturers to the sport.
Citing cost efficiency and flexibility, the current car was built not only to put the “stock” back in “stock car” but to deliver a product to which automobile corporations would want their name attached.
Currently, the sport only has three OEMs, with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota competing each week. Long gone are the days of parent companies of a manufacturer supplying subsidiaries, such as GM fielding both Chevrolets and the now defunct Pontiacs in the early 2000s. If NASCAR hopes to attract an extra manufacturer into the fold, it will have to be from the outside.
But a recent interview with NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell sheds light on how close the sport is to adding a new OEM.
O’Donnell recently did an interview with RACER Magazine’s Kelly Crandal, on Crandal’s podcast The Racer Writer’s Podcast, and stated the following.
"“We are in daily dialogue with one [OEM] in particular, that’s close to finish line depending on who you ask. Would be terrific for the sport if we could get. But I think ideally if we could ever get to five, that would be awesome.”"
Dodge, which left the Cup Series after 2012, has been rumored as the fourth manufacturer for quite some time, but O’Donnell referenced the “Garage 56” program in IMSA, and how that could build a bridge with European manufacturers as well.
With Dodge only prospectively filling out seat number four out of the five O’Donnell hopes to have, that leaves a plethora of names such as Honda, Hyundai, BMW, and more to fill the other.
New manufacturer talks seem to be a constant in the world of NASCAR rumors, and who will be the one (or two) new ones to enter the sport remains a mystery. But with a new car and a versatile schedule, the time to look outside of the “big three” of OEMs seems to be sooner rather than later.