Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota could have new competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR has been in talks to bring another automaker to the sport and it’s expected to happen sooner rather than later.
“We are aggressively pursuing new (manufacturers),” NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said Monday on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. “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.”
Toyota joined the Cup Series in 2007 but it wasn’t until the past three seasons that the manufacturer led by Joe Gibbs Racing experienced constant success.
Dodge currently competes in the Xfinity and Truck Series, but hasn’t been in the Cup Series since 2012 when Brad Keselowski was crowned champion in the manufacturer’s final race with Team Penske. There were rumors that the company would return in 2014 but that never came to fruition.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted in December that Dodge is on the verge of a full-time return to NASCAR’s top series.
Finding another original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) to compete with Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota has been a topic of debate of late. Keselowski said Thursday on Fox Sports 1 it was the “most important thing” for the sport. O’Donnell agrees.
“Those conversations are ongoing. It’s a tough process,” O’Donnell said. “There’s a lot to consider doing this, but that is a huge goal for the sport right now.”
Thoughout much of its history NASCAR has had more than three nameplates in its top series, including names such as Mercury, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Plymouth. Could Honda and Volkswagen be next?