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Not sure if this counts as a news article...

Detroit: It's Time to Pull the Plug on NASCAR.

by Peter M. DeLorenzo
AUTOEXTREMIST.COM

Detroit. Since starting this website five years ago, I've built a reputation by 1. Talking about things people in the business are usually only comfortable with discussing in private conversations or after hours, 2. Talking about things that executives are only willing to discuss with journalists "off the record," or in "deep background" conversations, and 3. Talking about things that others haven't even thought about yet, which inevitably become topics of the moment in the business, thanks to us. In short, creating Autoextremist.com and writing The High-Octane Truth every week has become about leading the discussions crucial to the industry, it's about being out front, and in some cases, it's about saying things people don't want to hear, but who, in private moments, admit are unflinchingly accurate, albeit as painful as that may be.

With that reminder, today I'm going to lead the discussion on why Detroit's infatuation with all things NASCAR needs to come to an end. On the surface, this might be about as popular as suggesting that mom and apple pie have outlived their usefulness, but the reality is that NASCAR has become counterproductive to "Detroit" - and its cumulative and urgent interest in stemming the import tide, and it desperate mission to stop the erosion of market share in the North American market.

Heresy? In some circles, you bet.

But there is a growing belief in executive suites around the Motor City that NASCAR has outlived its usefulness, which is a tough stand to take, especially when you look at all that comes with NASCAR in its current form. It's the No. 2 spectator sport in the U.S. behind the National Football League. Its weekly races generate the kind of consistent viewing numbers that make Madison Avenue media mavens grin with a "cha-ching" soundtrack dancing in their heads. And NASCAR has exploited every opportunity to orchestrate a monster multi-billion dollar marketing juggernaut that has sponsors clamoring for a piece of the action (well, it used to, anyway. Lately, NASCAR has been in the throes of an actual sponsor exodus, as companies have found out that participating in NASCAR is all about promoting the NASCAR brand and little else).

But what does that really mean to Detroit? What does NASCAR actually have to do with helping Detroit in its quest to hold market share - or even increase it? DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors spend $75 million each on their NASCAR programs. That includes direct payouts to teams, drivers, promotions and advertising support. What, exactly, does Detroit get for its money?

In a few words? Not a damn thing.

Complete article here
 

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While I think that DeLorenzo is a self-absorbed pompous ***, I do agree that NASCAR is way overblown. But he's wrong that the involvement of the Big 3 is "counterproductive." Many people who follow NASCAR buy American-branded cars and many of the buy them because they sponsor NASCAR, among other reasons. NASCAR fans know who drives which brand of vehicle. While they may not care if Tide or STP sponsors their favorite driver, but they all know what brand of car he drives.
 
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