Troubled General Motors Corp. has notified two racetracks that run NASCAR events that their current contracts will not be renewed as part of an overall $10 billion cost-cutting program.
That seems to be just the first step in what could be a huge drop in support by GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC for tracks and teams in NASCAR's top three professional divisions, the NHRA and other racing series in the face of the weakest U.S. auto sales in a decade.
GM announced Tuesday that it had suspended its stock dividend and will sell up to $4 billion in assets, moves made necessary by the downturn in sales and the rising cost of gas.
And motorsports sponsorships will not be exempt from the cutbacks.
"Like all areas of the business, these areas have not gone without a certain level of scrutiny, and there will be modifications and changes in our promotional footprint in all of those areas," Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, said Tuesday. "We're not going to talk about the details today, and specifically NASCAR, but all those areas have been reviewed and will continue to be as we work these action plans through."