Mysterious series has NASCAR ties

NASCAR comes to Europe," reads a headline out of the weekend’s Paris Tuning and Racing Show, an annual car show. But none of the four NASCAR manufacturers here, or any of the Cup tour teams mentioned, seem to know anything about it.

However, the Web site for a proposed 13-race series this season, at a variety of European tracks, including Brands Hatch, Rockingham and Lausitzring, opens with glossy photos of the Bill Davis-Dave Blaney Toyota, the Michael Waltrip Toyota, a Kyle Busch-Rick Hendrick 2007 Monte Carlo, and what appears to be a Rick Hendrick Impala SS.

And there are interesting souvenirs for sale — jackets and clothing from the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-Hendrick camp, from the Clint Bowyer-Richard Childress team, from the Mark Martin-DEI camp, from the Robby Gordon camp, from the Matt Kenseth-Jack Roush camp, from the Kasey Kahne-Ray Evernham camp, and items with the NASCAR rainbow quite prominent.

Where the cars for this series might come from is unclear. But a similarly mysterious NASCAR-type series is already under way in the Far East, under the logo SpeedCar, with typical NASCAR stock cars built in North Carolina, featuring some ex-Formula One drivers. That series’ next race will be later this month as part of the Malaysian Formula One weekend. Who precisely is backing that series is not clear; but Michelin, which has pulled out of F1 itself, is providing tires for that Saturday companion event. Detroit executives have insisted they know little about that tour.

There has been speculation that the Far East tour could be a low-keyed attempt by someone within this sport to gauge the potential international attraction of NASCAR-type racing, without making a high-profile marketing gamble.

A part of a rough translation of the Paris press release reads:

“A European Championship NASCAR (racing stock cars), named All-Stars V8 Cup, will come on stream in 2008 at the initiative of an English group. The professional league will have a minimum of 26 cars and has the ambition to attract a wide audience on 13 circuits, four of which are in France, in its first year of existence.

“The cars are all equipped with a Chevrolet V8 engine (350 c.i.) with Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford bodies…." Winston Salem Journal

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