BROOKLYN, Mich. — As part of its reorganization after filing for bankruptcy protection, General Motors has discontinued its funding of NASCAR teams in the Nationwide and trucks series.
More cuts — at NASCAR's top level — might be next.
GM couldn't even salvage positive headlines on the track Friday, as Toyota driver Brian Vickers won the pole for Sunday's LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway — his third pole of the season.
In fact, three of the top four starters Sunday will be in Camrys. Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was the highest Chevrolet driver and will start third.
Earlier Friday, several teams affected by GM's decision began confirming the news.
"Kevin Harvick Inc. has lost its manufacturer support," KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick said in a statement. "Although this will require some internal restructuring, our commitment to our sponsors to provide the best possible product on the race track will not change."
KHI fields entries in the Nationwide and Truck series this season and won the 2007 Truck title with driver Ron Hornaday.
Kelley Earnhardt, general manager of JR Motorsports, said that organization would continue to use Chevrolets.
"The manufacturer support GM provides at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level is more critical in nature than in the Nationwide Series, and I hope Chevy is able to continue supporting that level, as the promotion of NASCAR works well for its demographics," she said.
GM recently announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and had started evaluating the cost effectiveness of several programs, including its manufacturer support in motorsports and specifically NASCAR.
Wednesday, GM officials are expected to meet with several Cup series teams to detail what — if any — cuts might occur at that level, sources told the Charlotte Observer.
"It's obviously a tough time for GM. It's a tough time for our country," said Johnson. "And one thing that I do know is that racing sells cars.
"Hopefully we can continue to do that for Chevrolet and for GM and go out and win on Sunday and sell on Monday."
GM released a statement confirming the moves.
"It is essential that we continue to look at every penny we spend as General Motors takes the necessary steps to become a leaner company with a significantly stronger balance sheet," the statement said.
"While Chevy Racing is talking to its business partners about ways to reduce cost and maximize the return on investment, it is our policy to not talk about the details of business relationships with our partners."