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NASCAR continues to engage with Honda to join national tours

There are several technological factors challenging progress

NASCAR: Cup Practice
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR chief operating officer Steve O’Donnelll says the pursuit of a fourth manufacturer is ‘heating up.’

Currently, the sport has Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Dodge left after the 2012 season.

The Sports Business Journal reported this week that NASCAR continues to pursue Honda and believes it’s a viable future partner to field cars at the highest levels of the discipline. The Journal also received the following statement from the manufacturer.

“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 has recently threatened to pull out of IndyCar, citing a lack of ROI and an inability to field engines for half the field at the current cost and return, as it competes with Chevrolet in that category.

A complicating factor in NASCAR’s pursuit of a new manufacturer is both determining what the next generation engine platform will be, either electric or alternative fuels, at a time where it races on internal combustions engines that are not expected to last through the decade.

NASCAR has recently explored hydrogen combustion with an offseason trip to Japan.

Formula 1 is moving to a new engine platform in 2026 and has attracted General Motors and Audi under the promise of providing a platform to develop technology that will eventually translate from race cars to street cars.

NASCAR also has to balance keeping its current OEMs happy while also attracting new ones, something addressed by O’Donnell in the Journal.

“The great thing is you talk about our current partners, they’ve been tremendous not only with current technology in the car but being very open to new technology whether it be a different engine architecture or what we race, so those discussions are always forward-thinking … and our current partners are very open to new OEMs coming in and open to having conversations about that possibility.”

Ultimately, win on Sunday and sell on Monday still applies to NASCAR, even as the technology that powers both continues to evolve.

“know that at the end of the day, being in NASCAR sells cars. It’s a proven thing and it’s a place OEMs want to be and should be,” O’Donnell said.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter. 

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