Sirius Speedway fave Peter De Lorenzo is at it again.
In a recent blog on autoextremist.com entitled, “NASCAR Is About To Feel Detroit's Chill,” DeLorenzo warns that the Detroit automakers are putting their NASCAR budgets “on the chopping block" and are set to dramatically reduce their involvement in the sport.
“The climate has changed dramatically,” warns DeLorenzo, “and all of NASCAR's negatives -- declining attendance, declining TV ratings, the dreaded "Car of Tomorrow," which has destroyed brand recognition and differentiation, the never-ending schedule, and the spike in costs due to the influx of Toyota spending -- have the powers that be…seriously questioning their NASCAR programs.”
DeLorenzo predicts a massive cutback in NASCAR involvement by Detroit’s “Big Three,” beginning with track sponsorships and promotional support programs, followed by national advertising, “high-visibility NASCAR-based promotions,” and finally, direct support to NASCAR teams.
“There is a very real possibility that at least one of the Detroit manufacturers will pull out altogether,” writes DeLorenzo, “…even if it means NASCAR becoming a one-make series (Toyota). At the very least, I can assure you that some of NASCAR's sacred cow teams -- the ones that heretofore would never be considered to be on the block -- will be left by the side of the road by the Detroit manufacturers in the interest of saving money.”
Longtime listeners to Sirius Speedway – and readers of The MotorSports Soapbox – will find many of DeLorenzo’s claims eerily familiar. In fact, he made virtually the same prediction two years ago, in June of 2006. At that time, “Chicken Little Pete” claimed that at least one Detroit automaker was poised to leave NASCAR within the next 12 months, to devote itself to production-based racing series, engine programs for open-wheel racing, and a road-racing effort focused on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Has anyone seen any of that happen? I thought not.
NASCAR’s Ramsey Poston commented on DeLorenzo’s poorly recycled rant last week, calling it, “a lot of rhetoric and false assumptions about the sport. Obviously, we are going through an economic cycle we've seen before, and naturally that breeds a lot of these stories. But as a sport, we are very confident with where we are.”
DeLorenzo appeared on Sirius Speedway back in 2006, stuttering and stammering uncomfortably as gaping holes were blown in each of his arguments. Before slinking away with his tail between his legs, he admonished listeners to, “wait and see. When a major manufacturer leaves NASCAR in the next few months, you’ll see I was right.”
Not much changes in Peter DeLorenzo’s world. He was wrong then, and he’s wrong now.