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DATE News (chronologically)
11/23/08
nassprint
Brian France’s fate hangs on boneheads  Right now Brian France might be the least-envied man in America who’s not Pacman Jones’ bodyguard. He runs a sports empire entirely dependent on boneheads.

Tone-deaf and dumber than posts, the heads of America’s Big Three automakers winged into Washington the other day in their private jets, pleading poverty. They were drowning in red ink, they said. Teetering on the verge of collapse. If Congress didn’t fork over bundles of cash in large denominations, the consequences were likely to be dire.

Why, shoot. They all might have to fly commercial or something.

Little wonder that Congress told these nitwits to shut up and go away. Little wonder that France and everyone else in NASCAR is quaking in their boots, because without the Big Three pumping money, machinery and subsidiary capital into the sport, it’s just Toyota and a whole pile of tumbleweeds.

These are grim times for NASCAR, and not just because the dopes in their Lears and Gulfstream Fives have driven the American auto industry off a cliff. As Jimmie Johnson won his record-tying third straight Sprint Cup title last weekend in Homestead, Fla., breadlines were all but queuing up in the garage area. Once-elite teams (DEI, Chip Ganassi) were merging because they couldn’t drum up enough sponsorship to survive on their own. Even mighty Hendrick Motorsports was laying people off.

As confetti fluttered around J-Squared, pink slips fluttered elsewhere. Hendrick let go 14 crewmen. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to dump 20 percent of the staff from his Nationwide team. The merger of DEI and Ganassi cost at least 120 employees their jobs – and this after DEI had already laid off more than 100 after its merger last year with Ginn Racing.

The worst part is, with the Big Three in the Dumpster right now, it’s likely to get even worse for NASCAR before it gets better.

“I think it’s going to be hard for any of us to do any new business in probably the first half of ’09,” Rick Hendrick told Lee Spencer, who wrote about the aforementioned layoffs on FoxSports.com last weekend.  More at Journal Gazette

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