NASCAR: Long-rumored manufacturer finally joining Cup Series?

Honda has been the rumored name when it comes to NASCAR adding a fourth manufacturer, and recent reports suggest that the OEM could be on its way.

NASCAR Cup Series Shriners Children's 500
NASCAR Cup Series Shriners Children's 500 / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Fans would have to look back to 2007 to find the most recent instance of a new manufacturer entering the NASCAR Cup Series, when Toyota decided to enter the sport. Since Toyota's entry, Dodge left after the 2012. Since then, the three OEM mainstays of the series have been Toyota, Ford, and Chevrolet.

While RFK Racing owner Brad Keselowski reached out to Dodge about a possible return in 2022, those talks stalled, leaving any hope of a fourth manufacturer out of the picture for the time being.

Keselowski has a history with Dodge, including his Cup Series championship in 2012 with Team Penske. Though Keselowski couldn't bring the fourth manufacturer back into NASCAR, the situation illustrated the fact that the sport was open to widening its horizons on the OEM front.

But a long-rumored manufacturer could finally be in the mix to join NASCAR soon.

Honda, which has been a long-rumored potential NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer, could finally turn the rumor into a reality. Talks with the OEM have gone on for years, including in 2020, when rumblings about Richard Petty Motorsports switching to the Japanese auto manufacturer were reported.

Sports Business Journal's Adam Stern reported that NASCAR COO Steve O'Donnell says negotiations to add a new manufacturer or competition are "heating up". He added that a person familiar with the matter stated how NASCAR has remained in discussion with Honda.

Honda & Acura Motorsports Manager Chuck Schifsky went on to write the following in an email:

"As part of our role managing American Honda’s Motorsports programs, we need to investigate all forms of motorsport here in the U.S., and as a part of that process, educate ourselves on what race fans are looking for. With that said, we have nothing new to report in terms of our future motorsport direction."

Honda & Acura Motorsports Manager Chuck

Honda may not be fielding a car in the NASCAR Cup Series this year, but it may be worth noting that the OEM's IndyCar contract expires in 2026. Is there room for a possible stock car entry in the near future, whether or not that open-wheel contract is extended?

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With NASCAR building electric car prototypes and studying hydrogen racing, there may be even more opportunities for a long-rumored name to finally make a mark in the world of stock car racing.