Cash-Strapped Chrysler Tips Penske a Million Bucks

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

As reported by Forbes and many others, Chyrsler CEO Bob Nardelli attended yesterday's 50th anniversary running of the Daytona 500. In a magna-nimous moment, Boot 'em Bob told the teams with Dodge decals on their cars (ostensibly, Dodge Chargers) that if any of them won the race, he'd give the team an extra $1m. After last year's pitiful performance by the Mopar racers, it looked like Cerberus' money was safe. And so it was, until the last lap, when Penske Racing's Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch came from behind and blasted past leader Tony Stewart in his Toyota, grabbing first and second places for Dodge. In fact, Dodges were in six of the top eight places. While the finishes were impressive, you have to wonder how Chrysler can afford to keep pouring money into racing. With all the factories they're closing, all the jobs they're cutting and all the suppliers they owe, you'd think they'd need every spare buck they could find. Still, an execs gotta get out of the office every now and then…

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  • Frank Williams Frank Williams on Feb 18, 2008
    racebeer: I will say this …. at least the Detroit oldters have engines somewhat based on the production V-8 blocks and heads. Toyota had to special produce such an animal, which I’m sure confused their engineers. Pushrod?? WTF?? The carburated pushrod engines are what NASCAR requires, regardless of what the real car the decals emulates runs. The engine used in the [8-cylinder, two door, real wheel drive] "Camry" "stock" car is based on the pushrod V8 engine they developed for the "Tundra" race truck because it couldn't use the existing fuel-injected OHC V8 the stock truck uses.
  • Rtz Rtz on Feb 18, 2008

    Nascar would be more exciting if they allowed for technical innovation. They try and make it a competitive human sport were its the drivers "competing" against each other and attempt to put the cars in the background and not spotlight them. Remove the archaic and restrictive rules from the cars. It's like the people in power are stuck in the 1950's and never want it to end. Look at the limits they place on the motor's, etc. Where's the fun in that?

  • Orian Orian on Feb 18, 2008
    # schempe : February 18th, 2008 at 10:58 am Anyone selling product in this day and age wanting to sell a product and have the ability to touch nearly 100 million potential customers dream of doing this. Your average television show with high rating might reach 30 million viewers and spend a million for a 30 second spot. The NASCAR exposure is 36 weeks long. From a marketing perspective that is a no brainer for an advertising dollar. Or they could go into Formula 1 and hit over 300 million viewers and growing, although they don't run as many races as Nascar does.
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Feb 18, 2008

    I suspect that most of us here would prefer the old amalgamation type races where if you don't sell them, you can't race them. Closest to that today is ALS, I guess. At least ALS is interesting to watch. Personally, I would like to see them flip the whole thing around and give everyone the same engine, and then see who could make the fastest car. Make the race a distance that will reward fewer fuel stops and now you have something interesting AND worthwhile.