Brian France, the CEO of NASCAR, has admitted that the series is looking into ways to bring down costs due to the current global economic climate.
The current financial market has raised questions about the future of a number of smaller teams on the grid as sponsors tighten their belts to deal with the financial situation – with the Furniture Row Racing team for one having already announced that it will switch to a limited programme for 2009 due to the 'tough economy'.
With the possibility that other teams could be forced to follow suit, France admitted that NASCAR would be looking at ways to bring costs down in 2009.
“Obviously, it's very difficult,” he said. “It's on our whole industry. And there are always some unfunded teams. Now, that's not anything new. One of my goals and one of our goals is to have a system where you don't need $26 million to put a competitive team forward. So that is one of the things NASCAR has a lot of influence on and we're working all the time to figure that out.
“But there is no question that with advertising and marketing budgets coming under lots of pressure, that we are, as I've said for many months now, we will not be immune to those kinds of reviews.
“I would tell you, the good news is that we're talking about 90 per cent of the industry is sponsors, or more, speaking of the Sprint Cup Series. And we have brought on some new companies that will be ready in place for 2009. And sponsorship values are at an all-time high as to what they deliver for companies.
“Now that doesn't give you a pass if the general economy contracts a lot, but it certainly helps as they look at things they can't afford to do in the future. Usually, we're one of the last things that they don't want to continue, because they know that it works so well.
“Most of the companies, even in tough economic times do want to sell their products and services. So we will come out of this, and we will do our part with the rest of the sports and entertainment to weather the storm. And we've been here before with energy crisis and 9/11, and many other recessions and so on. And it's never fun. It's never easy on our team. It's never easy on us, but we'll get through it.”
France added that even when the current economic downturn eventually draws to a close, the series will need to be 'leaner and meaner' to ensure costs don't spiral out of control but must also ensure it doesn't go too far as to damage the sport.