And then there were … four? NASCAR president Steve Phelps confirmed in Miami on Saturday that his team has recently had discussions with an unnamed manufacturer about joining Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota in the series.
“We had some folks out in Phoenix (last week) that were interested in coming into the sport,” Phelps said, according to NASCAR.com.
“It’s important for us. We are working hard to try to determine kind of the timing of that, what that looks like, and what that partnership would look like moving forward bringing someone in.”
Sports Business Journal reporter Adam Stern tweeted that word ahead of the Phoenix race was that Honda executives would be in attendance. Stern reported in May that NASCAR and Honda officials were seen meeting at the Indy 500, where Honda-powered teams were competing.
Honda V.P. Art St. Cyr told Motorsport.com in October that the automaker “would jump at the chance” to enter NASCAR if it “makes sense,” but there has been no official confirmation the two sides spoke in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Hyundai has confirmed prior discussions with NASCAR. Thomas Schemera, the Korean automaker’s head of global product strategy, told Autoweek that it is looking at the situation closely.
NASCAR is set to launch an all-new spec car for the 2019 season that’s being developed to be more cost-effective, competitive and relevant to road cars in an attempt to make the series more appealing to automakers.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible to have an OEM come in, plug in, and start to compete on the race track,” Phelps said.