Uprising: Owners may dig in their heels to resist new models

This Winston Salem Journal article says, NASCAR president Mike Helton took a very tough-guy stance in last week's potentially momentous meeting with half a dozen of stock-car racing's top car owners, including Chevrolet's Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress, Ford's Jack Roush, and Dodge's Chip Ganassi.

But the France family may be playing with fire if it continues to let its competition department try to jam the 2007 "car of the future" down the throats of the men who own most of the major teams – and drivers – in NASCAR. There are hints that a revolt may be brewing. There are indications that some of the team owners and their Detroit manufacturers, all considering the changeover price tag of around $4 million a team times 43 teams, plus the instant obsolescence of their stock of nearly 800 race cars, may simply balk at the new car and say, 'No way.'

That things could get to this point raises questions about NASCAR's leadership and its common sense. To hear car owners and others involved talk, Daytona has a lack of wisdom as well as a lack of understanding of what's really going on out in the race shops and up in the board rooms of the car makers. Or maybe it's simply just another case of NASCAR's remarkable arrogance. After all, NASCAR is hot, and its TV ratings are solid.

The first major test of the new stock car is set for Monday here, but it appears that the test may be sparsely attended. NASCAR's version of the new, chubbier machine, described by some as "ugly" and others as "certainly not very sexy," will be on the track, presumably with Brett Bodine, a former racer turned NASCAR research-and-development driver, at the wheel.

It will be interesting to see who else shows up. At last report, only two other teams would provide cars, one Ford and one Dodge. The second major test is set for later this month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a handling track where things should be much trickier aerodynamically for the new car.

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