In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said the sanctioning body would like to have another automaker join Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota as competitors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“There’s always interest and there’s always some real considerations,” France told FOXSports.com on Thursday in a one-on-one interview during Chase Media Day. “They take a while to get vetted out on both ends, so nothing in the immediate future.”
France went on to say that a new player would be a positive in the Sprint Cup Series.
“We could use — another car manufacturer would be a good thing for us,” France said. “We would be open to that under the right situation.”
France did not name any names of automakers who could be sniffing around for a NASCAR presence, but here are four that could be good fits.
4. NISSAN — This one seems like a natural. Nissan has a huge U.S. manufacturing presence, with the capability to build more than 1 million cars annually here. It has a design studio in California and a technical center in Michigan. Nissan’s corporate headquarters is in Franklin, Tennessee, which is home to Darrell Waltrip, Carrie Underwood, Jack White and Ashley Judd, among others. The Nissan Altima is a direct competitor to the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion.
3. HYUNDAI — When Hyundai starting selling cars in the United States in 1986, their offerings were bare bones, inexpensive economy cars. Over the last 30 years, the Korean automaker has moved upscale in quality and image, today offering a wide range of cars and SUVs spanning a variety of price points from economy to luxury. Given that they compete in many of the same categories as Chevy, Ford and Toyota, they’d be a good competitor on track, too.
2. VOLKSWAGEN — Let’s be blunt here: Dieselgate has been a public relations nightmare for Volkswagen. For the first eight months of the year, VW sales in the United States were down a dreadful 13 percent. This is a company that desperately needs a good story to tell and racing could do that for them. The Passat sedan would be the logical choice to race.
1. DODGE/CHRYSLER — When Dodge pulled out of NASCAR at the end of 2012, it left a huge void. They are biggest automaker in North America that doesn’t race in NASCAR. Dodge went as far as designing a Gen-6 car for 2013, but the project never went anywhere because Team Penske switched to Ford and Dodge decided to pull out. Seeing the Dodge Charger — or even the Chrysler 300 — back in NASCAR would be huge.