NASCAR has been very adamant that they want the sport to grow at a rapid rate, and the best way to do that is to get more investors. This doesn’t just mean sponsors, but car manufacturers. Currently, the sport only has three in Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota as the sole competitors. One of the motivating factors with the next-gen car was to attempt to entice other manufacturers to go NASCAR racing.
It seems to have worked, as a lot of rumors are circulating about the possibility that Honda is looking to break into the sport in the coming years. Brett Griffin on Door Bumper Clear recently added fuel to the fire by implying he already knows that Honda is coming into the sport at the 1:05:50 mark of this week’s podcast.
If Honda is entering the sport, they are coming in at a perfect time with so many new teams entering the Cup series. Back in 2007, when Toyota entered the sport they attached themselves to two current teams and then offered financial backing to a brand new program in Michael Waltrip Racing. Honda is poised to be able to do the same.
There will be four new teams enter Cup this year including 23XI, Trackhouse, Kaulig, and GMS. 23XI is going to be sticking with Toyota, and Maury Gallagher, owner of GMS is a Chevy loyalist. Trackhouse and Kaulig are two interesting candidates for potentially making the switch to Honda.
Both are currently in an oversaturated Chevy market and could be enticed to spearhead a brand new venture. Trackhouse is beginning the process of building a brand new race shop in downtown Nashville and is looking to evolve the way fans experience visiting race shops, so welcoming a brand new manufacturer to the sport would be a great opportunity on each side.
I think Honda’s great white whale, the team that they will go after the hardest is Chip Ganassi Racing. CGR is a middling Chevy team that has switched between manufacturers in the past, and doesn’t seem too loyal to Chevy. Chip Ganassi’s Indycar team is already manufactured by Honda, so there is a relationship there, and it would be an easy transition.
CGR has remained a middling team that can be competitive any given day but doesn’t have the resources to compete for championships. This is a team that has money and has an owner that cares and wants to win, so if they can get the financial backing, they could become one of the top teams in NASCAR.
Honda entering the sport with a built-in relationship with Chip Ganassi presents them with a flagship team to pour money into and be competitive fairly early. The pairing of Honda and CGR seems like a perfect match for both sides, and it wouldn’t come as a shock if talks have already taken place between the two.
It’s exciting to see new manufacturers come in because it adds so much more competition. We’ve already heard rumors that Toyota is going to poach a few smaller Chevy teams in the offseason like Richard Petty Motorsports, so if Honda continues that trend it can put a dent in the Chevy monopoly.
Right now, Hendrick Motorsports has a death grip on the Chevy economy, so a lot of teams should be excited at the possibility of getting a little more attention. Honda has experience in IndyCar and Formula 1 and is arguably the most qualified manufacturer to ever enter NASCAR from scratch.