April fools, NASCAR! And yet…

I don’t read Car and Driver myself, but the car blogs I do follow all brought up a great prank they pulled. They posted an article stating that President Obama, as part of the government bailout thing, forced GM and Chrysler to pull out of their efforts involving NASCAR. Automotive fans mostly thought it was a good joke.

NASCAR isn’t laughing. It cuts a bit too close to the bone. With a lot of talk of banruptcies right now, would GM and Chrysler be able to focus any cash on racing? And if that’s the case, how would the sport survive without two of the big three?

The whole of the sport tends to focus on the differences between American roads and the rest of the worlds’ roads. We have crazy long stretches of highway, and as such, our car makers made cars with big engines to go fast and comfortable suspensions. NASCAR and all those silly oval tracks are meant to look like a big highway. The rest of the world tends not to have those long, open stretches of highway, so they make better handling cars and more economical ones: they don’t need that much speed. And their racing reflects it with road courses.

Toyota is already a part of NASCAR. If the Chevys and Dodges bow out, who steps in? VW? Honda? It may signal some interesting changes for the sport.

And of course I read about this in my favorite car blog, Jalopnik.