STEW

The Covington News - - Sports -

may be a good idea for them to pull out of auto racing.”

Wow, it’s that bad, eh? So what are the big three from Detroit do­ing about their spon­sor­ships and fac­tory sup­port in NASCAR? Well, as of right now, noth­ing.

Of­fi­cials for Gen­eral Motors have stated it makes sense for their com­pany to re­main in NASCAR. From a mon­e­tary stand­point, they feel the mil­lions of dol­lars they spend on brand­ing; fac­tory sup­port and ad­ver­tis­ing far out­weigh the costs.

Chevro­let cur­rently has per­sonal ser­vices agree­ments with the sports big­gest stars. Jeff Gor­don, Dale Earn­hardt Jr., and Jim­mie John­son are all paid well to rep­re­sent Chevy. Now that Tony Ste­wart is back with the bowtie bri­gade, you can bet he’ll be ob­tained too. But if Honda and Audi can pull out of their racing se­ries, doesn’t that at least beg the ques­tion when you watch the big three grovel at the feet of politi­cians all day on CNN?

Look, I am a racing fan. I love NASCAR and would hate to see it fall to the waste side. But that’s ex­actly what would hap­pen if the big three pulled out. That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean Ford, Chevy and Dodge should just stand pat and con­tinue to fleece share hold­ers.

This prob­lem is just a mi­cro­cosm of things to come. If the econ­omy does in­deed im­plode, en­ter­tain­ment will no longer be a vi­able in­dus­try. Amer­i­cans have been spoiled for so many years now that this change could have a dev­as­tat­ing af­fect on our so­ci­ety. We like to play. But when Amer­i­cans no longer have the funds to spend on en­ter­tain­ment, all th­ese sports leagues will go into the tank.

What hap­pens if money no longer be­comes of any value? Cars, NASCAR racing, pro foot­ball and base­ball will have no mean­ing in our so­ci­ety. When you are fight­ing off your neigh­bor from steal­ing your stash of canned food, do you re­ally think any­one is go­ing to car about stock cars or field goals?

This is a pretty grim out­look on the fu­ture, one that hope­fully never comes to fruition. What­ever hap­pens, the world as we know it is chang­ing. Oil is run­ning out. Auto racing will even­tu­ally be a thing of the past. I doubt se­ri­ously the auto man­u­fac­tures will care about racing once the mar­ket for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, or worse, sur­vival guides dom­i­nates so­ci­ety.

It’s time to wash our hands of all the ex­cess con­sump­tion. The auto man­u­fac­tur­ers, rather the big wigs at the top, mak­ing all the money and poor de­ci­sions, have done this to them­selves.

Honda is smart. Audi knows where it stands. Both th­ese man­u­fac­tures see the writ­ing on the wall. But for some rea­son, the Amer­i­can auto man­u­fac­tures some­how con­tinue to talk a good game, but re­ally have no plan.

The worst part of all this will ul­ti­mately be the peo­ple who de­pend on th­ese three com­pa­nies for em­ploy­ment. It’s about the get dicey. The gov­ern­ment will give the big three some money, but I fear it will only buy more time un­til the in­evitable. A short term fix at best.

Chevy, Ford and Dodge don’t spend as much as Honda did in For­mula 1. The fac- tory BAR Honda team had an op­er­at­ing bud­get of $294 mil­lion in 2008. That’s for one team. Chevy spreads its fi­nan­cial re­sources over sev­eral teams and does re­ceive a lot for its in­vest­ment. Chevy has won more driv­ers and man­u­fac­ture’s cham­pi­onships than any other man­u­fac­ture in the sport and is po­si­tioned well with NASCAR’s strong­est teams. But what kind of mes­sage are the fools that showed up in hy­brid ve­hi­cles to beg for money, send­ing the Amer­i­can pub­lic when Honda is prov­ing to be once again, proac­tive?

I hate to think it’s just the lat­est ex­am­ple of stu­pid­ity and short sight­ed­ness.

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