Detroit's Woes Become a Drag for NASCAR

Tanking economy likely to hit NASCAR harder than most
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2008 2:15 AM CDT
Drivers take the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Tums QuikPak 500 auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Oct. 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome )
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(Newser) – The gloomy economic outlook is putting the brakes on sporting sponsorships everywhere and NASCAR is one of the hardest-hit, the Washington Post reports. Sponsorship cash makes up around 80% of the average racing team's budget, but long-standing partnerships with Detroit’s auto giants and other major backers are running out of gas as budgets get cut to the bone.

Some teams are looking into mergers as they struggle to find sponsors. Even the sport's optimists expect a rough ride as Detroit dollars dry up, although some think a crash was inevitable after NASCAR's years of turbo-powered expansion. "Nothing could stay as hot as NASCAR was," one expert said. "It had to have some sort of a correction."