• UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ANY NEW AUTOMAKERS COMING to NASCAR?

Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, was Wednesday night's Newsmaker of the Week guest on The Race Reporters on PowerUpChannel.com. Fox and TNT NASCAR pit reporter Matt Yocum; and Autoextremist.com founder Peter De Lorenzo, joined me for the journalists' roundtable.

Lee was asked about Lexus' status in the Grand-Am sports car series (uncertain) and a variety of other topics.

I asked Lee if he thought a European or Asian automaker might enter NASCAR in the near future. Here's his answer:

"That's a good question for them (NASCAR). Certainly, it would be very difficult, today, for us to propose entering anything. It would be challenging for me to go to our management and say, 'We want to take this on.' I guess I have to say we, at TRD, are probably very fortunate that we pulled it off five years ago, when we came into Trucks. We actually started that process 10 years ago, when it became apparent open-wheel racing in North America was going to have significant challenges. We at TRD basically encouraged the company to look at this (NASCAR) along with us as a survival mechanism, to keep the folks at TRD employed. Could it happen? Absolutely. The mechanism is there. The Car of Tomorrow is easily adapted to anyone. Before we came back in, Dodge came back in, and built a from-scratch NASCAR racing engine. That enabled us to do the same thing. Now, GM and Ford have done from-scratch racing engines for NASCAR. There's no question someone else could come in and do that if they desired."

Click this link to listen to the show:

http://va.radiopilot.net/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=41051

Upcoming guests:

September 23 -- Newsmaker: Jeg Coughlin Jr. Panelists: Alan Reinhart, Mike Kerchner, Jeff Burk.

September 30 -- John Daly (editor, The Daly Planet.) Panelists: Lewis Franck, Jonathan Ingram. Plus, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer.

October 7 -- Gil de Ferran. Panelists: Mike Harris, Gordon Kirby.

October 14 -- Bryan Sperber (president, Phoenix International Raceway). Panelists: Terry Blount, Ron Lemasters Jr.

[ more next Tuesday. . . ]