NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell is adamant that the sport is actively pursuing new manufacturers to join the sport.
O’Donnell appeared on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday, and he said NASCAR is in “aggressive conversations” with manufacturers, but he didn’t give specific details.
“We are aggressively pursuing new (manufacturers),’” O’Donnell said. “We want to make sure that they come in similar to how Toyota did and it’s really changed the sport. They’ve done a tremendous job and really helped the industry.
“Those conversations are ongoing. It’s a tough process. There’s a lot to consider doing this, but that is a huge goal for the sport right now.”
The last manufacturer to join NASCAR was Toyota in 2007, and Toyota won its first Cup championship in 2015 with Kyle Busch.
The only three manufacturers in the sport now are Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford. Dodge left the sport in 2012 after Brad Keselowski won with the company. Dodge is owned by Chrysler, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said in December that Dodge could return to NASCAR in the future.
O’Donnell openly disagreed with Keselowski about his car needing a new design after Keselowski crashed at Kentucky Speedway and said his car was didn’t drive well in traffic.
“It’s a poorly designed race car, and it makes racing on tracks like this very difficult to put on the show we want to put on for our fans,” Keselowski said. … “It’s time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans.”
O’Donnell said Keselowski was just frustrated after a disappointing finish at Kentucky Speedway.
“Well, my immediate reaction is that Brad Keselowski had input on this rules package,” O’Donnell said. “You know, I think he was frustrated. He had a tough night. These cars are supposed to be hard to drive. These are the best drivers in the world.”
Regardless of O’Donnell and Keselowski’s disagreement, it sure sounds like a new manufacturer might lead a shake up in NASCAR in the near future.
(h/t NBC Sports)