Good news, bad news driving the economy for NASCAR

by David Whisenant - bio l email

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - In just a few weeks NASCAR will be rolling into Lowe's Motor Speedway with the Sprint All Star Race on May 16th and the Coca Cola 600 the following week.

So how is the state of NASCAR given the struggling economy? Now with 7 of 35 races complete, we're seeing a better picture of how the sport is doing.

First, the bad news, teams are still shutting down. The legendary car #8 made famous by Dale Earnhardt, Junior, recently driven by Aric Almirola is now off the track. The team, now known as Earnhardt-Ganassi, couldn't find sponsors.

Sponsor woes have been very hard on the Nationwide and Camping World truck series.

Many of the top drivers simply don't have sponsors and are in a race with their checkbooks to find a sponsors before hitting bottom.

Another concern, if carmakers can't start selling cars again, that could have a devastating impact on NASCAR teams.

Team owner and car dealer Rick Hendrick has said most teams are already trying to adjust. He agrees that without the carmakers involvement, things like technology, support, and vehicles used by teams could disappear.

Now for the good news.  A second round of mass lay-offs that some had predicted to happen right after the Daytona 500 did not take place.

So far there has been a full field of 43 cars at each race. Richard Petty finally found a sponsor for A.J. Allmendinger's #44. That car is currently 20th in points, but without a sponsor, the team was going to stop racing. Now Hunt Brothers Pizza is on board.

Petty also announced he's fielding a car for the Indy 500 with John Andretti at the controls.

And finally at Lowe's Motor Speedway, ticket sales for the upcoming May schedule are coming along. The track has been offering lots of discounted deals, and there's the extra attraction of the big 50th anniversary celebration.

NASCAR took a break, as usual, for the Easter weekend. The next race is this Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona.