BROOKLYN, Mich. — NASCAR says it would be open to other foreign manufacturers joining Toyota in stock car racing.
Chief executive Brian France says nothing is imminent but talks with several companies have been ongoing for a long time.
France spoke at Michigan International Speedway ahead of Sunday's Sprint Cup race. He was asked about the likelihood of companies like Japanese manufacturer Honda and some German automakers competing in NASCAR.
"We have been talking to people for off and on for a long time," he said. "These are decisions in terms of the new manufacturers joining the sport that would take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So those aren't something that we turn the light switch on tomorrow morning and it would happen.
"Of course, we're the pre-eminent place in North America for car manufacturers to build their business with an auto racing group. We remain that and clearly there's some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have even been there in the past that could be presented in the future."
France's comments come on the heels of an announcement earlier this week by GM, which is reorganizing through bankruptcy, that it is making deep cuts in its support of NASCAR teams in Cup, Nationwide and trucks, the latest in a series of harsh economic news for the sport.
"Well, obviously ... every (GM) program is affected and we're no different," he said. "We were hoping to have the most minimal of the impact with their decision to restructure their business. The details aren't all out yet and exactly what that will mean to us, but, obviously, we are affected.
"I think our job now is to figure out how to be good partners with them. They're trying to restructure their entire company to be a different company on the other side (of bankruptcy) and for us to be a part of that. And I think we will. I'm very confident that they'll be in the sport for many, many years because it works well."
France said NASCAR will do whatever it can to help its teams, tracks and sponsors get through the tough economic times.
Truck champion Benson injured in fiery crash
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Reigning NASCAR trucks champion Johnny Benson is in serious but stable condition after a fiery crash during a SuperModified race.
The driver was starting his second lap when he collided with another car on Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. His car slammed into the wall and erupted into flames.
Benson reportedly had multiple injuries, including burns and broken ribs.
The 45-year-old driver lost his full-time ride last Monday when Red Horse Racing folded his Camping World Truck Series team because it couldn't find sponsorship.