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When GM and Chrysler go belly up, NASCAR will feel the pain
Heavy storm clouds are hanging over some NASCAR teams at Talladega Superspeedway this week: Chrysler appears headed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next week, and then Italian car maker Fiat will likely pick and chose the parts of the American automaker that it wants to buy and take a major stake in the Detroit company – and what that means for NASCAR's Dodge teams, like the ones owned by Roger Penske, Richard Petty and George Gillett is anybody's guess.

The Obama administration has given Chrysler until April 30th to make a deal with Fiat before giving the car maker enough money to survive. Such a bankruptcy would apparently force the U.S. government to take over some key parts of Chrysler's business, perhaps some of the health care and pension plan aspects. Bankruptcy would apparently also leave all those Cerberus investors without much, if anything, to show for the billions they invested in the car maker a few years ago when buying it and taking it private. Fiat would gradually buy enough of Chrysler, or its parts, to eventually have controlling interest. One interesting angle – Fiat owns Ferrari, the Formula One powerhouse, though Ferrari is operated independently.

On the General Motors' side of the picture, GM officials say they plan to shut down virtually the entire company for about two months beginning in about two weeks….though that may be just a bluff, because such a shutdown could add tens of thousands more to the unemployment roles, through a major trickle-down effect. GM is under an Obama deadline of May 31st to get its financial affairs in better order. Like the Chrysler situation, the potential impact on GM's NASCAR operations are unclear. Mikemulhern.net

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